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M145/ , 






3 1833 00859 3326 

Jfamoug (Pill jfamtlicjf 




The Families 


MacDonald, McDonald anb McDonnell 




Copyright 1920 
L. Polk & Co., Inc., New York 

Table of Contents: ' 


Chapter I 9 

Origin of the Qan — InnseGall — The Clann CboUa — 
Conn of a Hundred Fights— Soraerled, King of the 
Isles— The Story of Somerled. 

Chapter II 22 

The Lords of the Isles, Ancestors of the Families of 

MacDonald, McDonald and McDonnell— The Red 

j,^ Hand — "Lord of the Isles, my Trust in Thee is firm 


as Aisia Rock"— The Baul Muluy— Good John of Isla 
— Donald of Harlaw — Donald Dubb. 

^ Chapter III 84 

I Territories of the Isles— Ceremonies and Customs — 

Hereditary Officers of the Clan— The Bards— Duntulm 
and Other Strongholds— The Badge, The Galley and 
The Eagle. 

Chapter IV 50 

Branches of the Clan— The Chiefship — Sleat— McDon- 
nell of Glengarry— Clan Ranald. 

Chapter V 67 

Dunnyveg and The Glens — Keppoch— Glencoe— The 
Mac Ruaries— Alastair Mor and the Clan Allister — 
The Family of Ulster — Sorley Buy and the Family of 
Antrim — Clan Donald of Connaught and Leinster. 

Chapter VI 89 

Early American History of the Clan — Early Settlers — 
Bryan MacDonald — Angus McDonald of Virginia — 
John and William McDonald— The Clan in the Revolu- 
tion — Civil War Records, 

Chapter VII 104 

Later Records of the Clan in the United States. 
Chapter VIII 118 

Lines of Descent in Scotland, England and Ireland — 
Heads of Branches of the Clan — Notable Members of 
the Clan in the British Empire. 

Chapter IX 135 

Armorial Bearings. 


LL races of men seem to have an intuitive 
feeling that it is a subject of legitimate 
pride to be one of a clan or family whose 
name is written large in past history and 
present affairs. Everybody likes to know something 
about his forefathers, and to be able to tell to his 
children the tales or stories about their ancestors, 
which he himself has heard from his parents. The 
commandment "Honor thy father and thy mother" 
is good and sufficient authority for that feeling of 
reverence which is so generally shown towards a 
line of honorable ancestry. The history of the 
■family was a matter of much importance to the 
Greeks; it was the custom of the early Roman to 
place in the aula of his house the images of the 
illustrious men of his family ; the Chinese go so far 
as to magnify such reverence into ancestor worship, 
and even the red Indian of our own Northwest 
recorded the traditions of his ancestors on the totem 
of his tribe. Well, then, may the story of the chiv- 
alry, courage and even lawlessness (so often the 
mate of courage) of their forefathers find a respon- 
sive echo in the hearts of the Clan Donald of the 
present generation, "who come of ane house and are 
of ane surname, notwithstanding this lang time 
bygane." It is not intended in this "History of the 


6 History of the Clan Donald 

Clan Donald" to attempt any genealogical investi- 
gation or show any family tree, but rather to tell 
of those bygone men of the Clan, in whose achieve- 
ments and history it is the common heritage of all 
who bear the name to take pride and interest. Old 
stories of clansmen of reckless bravery, who were 
good and true friends but were fierce and bitter 
enemies. Stories of men of the clan who fought 
hard, lived hard and died as they fought and lived. 
Those olden days may seem a time of scant respect 
for law, of misdirected chivalry and of brave deeds 
often wrongly done, but there is surely no true Mac- 
Donald, McDonald or McDonnell who, in his inmost 
heart, is not proud to claim descent from a clan 
whose ancient records are replete with such tradi- 
tions ; whose later records tell of those early adven- 
turers who left their native hills and glens for the 
new land of promise, and whose descendants have, 
in more prosaic times, earned honors in literature, 
arms and art. "It is wise for us to recur to the his- 
tory of our ancestors. Those who do not look upon 
themselves as links connecting the past with the 
future do not fulfill their duty in the world." 

History of the Clan Donald 

The Families of MacDonald, McDonald 
and m9d0nnell 


HE Clan Donald is one of the most 
numerous and widespread of the clans, 
and includes several families, who, while 
using different surnames or different 
methods of writing the same surname, have an iden- 
tical genealogical derivation. Of these, the families 
of MacDonald or McDonald, and MacDonnell or 
McDonnell, are the most important. The mode of 
writing is immaterial, the name is the same; they 
are of one stock ; and the story of the Clan Donald 
is the story of their ancestors. As told later, the 
Clan derived its generic name from Donald, the 
grandson of Somerled; and hence the name Mac- 
Donald, or son of Donald, Mac, or the Gaelic Mhic, 
signifying son. By abbreviating the prefix to Mc 
and M' many families write the name McDonald 
and M'Donald. The surname MacDonnell, McDon- 
nell, McDonell, and other forms and methods of 
writing this name, came first into use, when, as men- 
tioned in Chapter IV, Aeneas MacDonald of the 
Glengarry branch was, in 1660, raised to the Peerage 
of Scotland by the title of Lord MacDonell. In the 
earlier chapters the family name has been written 
in its unabbreviated form, MacDonald, although, 
even in those bygone days the shorter forms of Mac 
were frequently used; and any record of names in 

16 History of the Clan Donald 

the Scotland of today will indicate that the prefix 
is quite as frequently Mc as Mac. In the case of the 
modern families descended from the Clan, that mode 
of orthography has been followed, which, from long 
usage, the families have rightly been in the habit of 

The important position occupied by the Clan 
Donald and its branches invests the narrative of its 
rise and history with unusual interest to all, but 
more especially to those of the Clan, who may well 
refer with pride to iheir noble descent from the 
independent rulers of the island principality, the 
Kings of the Isles. The early history and descent 
of the Clan are involved in the cloudy shades of 
antiquity; and its origin is connected with many of 
the most interesting questions of Scottish ethnology. 

After the evacuation of Britain by the Romans, 
the country north of the Firth of Forth was occu- 
pied by a Pictish people designated the Alban Gael, 
whom historians agree were of the same race as the 
Cruithne of Ireland, and whose language was a type 
of the modern Scottish Gaelic. This people probably 
came first to Scotland between 500 B. C. and 300 
B. C. To the south, the Scots of Dalriada occupied 
part of Argyll, and the country of Mull, Islay and 
the Southern Isles. The Alban Gaels or Picts, north 
of the Forth, were divided into the Northern Picts, 
who held the country north of the Grampians, and 
the Southern Picts. When, in 844, the Dalriads, 
Scots and Southern Picts were united in one king- 
dom by Kenneth MacAlpin, the Northern Picts 

History of the Clan Donald ll 

remained unaffected by the union. Included in the 
territory occupied by these Picts, or Alban Gael, 
were the Western Islands, known to the Gael as 
Innse-Gall, or the Islands of the Strangers, which 
later formed part of the dominion of the Kings of 
the Isles, progenitors of the Clan Donald. In these 
early days the Islands were constantly ravaged by 
the Norsemen and the Danes, who kept the whole 
western seaboard in a state of perpetual turmoil. 

"When watchfires burst across the main 

From Rona, and Uist and Skye, 
To tell that the ships of the Dane 

And the red-haired slayer were nigh; 
Our Islesmen rose from their slumbers, 

And buckled on their arms. 
But few, alas! were their numbers 

To Lochlin's mailed swarms; 
And the blade of the bloody Norse 

Has filled the shores of the Gael 
With many a floating corse 

And many a widow's wail." 

When Harold, the Fair Haired, in the year 875, 
constituted himself King of the whole of Norway, 
many of the small independent jarls, or princes, of 
that country refused to acknowledge his authority, 
and came to the Innse-Gall, or Western Isles. Har- 
old pursued them, and conquered Man, the Hebrides, 
Shetlands and Orkneys. The year following this 
conquest, the Isles rose in rebellion against Harold, 

1^ History of the Clan Donald 

who sent his cousin Ketil to restore order ; but Ketil 
exceeded his instructions, and declared himself King 
of the Isles, being followed by a succession of Kings, 
until the Isles were finally added to Scotland. Allied 
with these Norse sea rovers was a Pictish people, 
called the Gall Gael, and Dr. Skene, the historian, 
claims that from the Gall Gael sprung the ancestors 
of the Clan Donald. The name Gall has always 
been applied by the Gael to strangers, and Skene 
maintains that the Western Gaels came, by associa- 
tion, to resemble their Norwegian allies in charac- 
teristics and mode of life, and thus acquired the 
descriptive name of Gall. 

The historical founder of the Family of the Isles 
was Somerled, Rex Insularum, for whom some writ- 
ers have claimed a Norwegian origin, but although 
the name is Norse all other circumstances point to 
a different conclusion. The traditions of the Clan 
Donald invariably represent that he descended from 
the ancient Pictish division of the Gael, and the early 
history of the Clan Cholla, the designation of the 
Clan prior to the time of Donald, penetrates into 
far antiquity. Tradition takes us back to the cele- 
brated Irish King, Conn-Ceud Chathach, or Conn of 
a Hundred Fights, the hundredth "Ard Righ," or 
supreme King of Ireland. Conn's court was at Tara 
and he died in 157 A. D. The Scottish poet Ewen 
MacLachlan refers to this early royal ancestor of 
the race of Somerled. 

History of the Clan Donald 13 

"Before the pomp advanced in kingly grace 
I see the stem of Conn's victorious race, 
Whose sires of old the Western sceptre swayed. 
Which all the Isles and Albion's half obeyed." 

Fourth in descent from Conn came Eochaid Dui- 
bhlein, who married a Scottish Princess, Aileach, a 
daughter of the King of Alba. An old Irish poem 
describes the Princess as "a mild, true woman, mod- 
est, blooming till the love of the Gael disturbed her, 
and she passed with him from the midst of Kintyre 
to the land of Uladh." Their three sons all bore the 
name of Colla — Colla Uais, Colla Meann and Colla 
da Crich. The designation Colla was "imposed on 
them for rebelling," and means a strong man, their 
original names being Cairsall, Aodh and Muredach. 
The three Collas went to Scotland to obtain the as- 
sistance of their kindred to place Colla Uais on the 
Irish throne, and with their help placed him there, 
but he was compelled to give way to a relative, 
Muredach Tirech, who had a better title to the sov- 
ereignty. The three brothers then returned to Scot- 
land, where they obtained extensive settlements and 
founded the Clan Cholla. Colla Uais died in 337 
A. D. Three generations after Colla Uais came Ere, 
who died in 502 A. D., leaving three sons, Fergus, 
Lorn and Angus. Fergus came from Ireland to 
Scotland and founded in Argyllshire the Kingdom of 
Dalriada in Albany, which later extended and be- 
came the Kingdom of Scotland. At this point the 
Clan Donald line touches that of the Scottish Kings, 

14 History of the Clan Donald 

showing their common origin and ancestry. Fergus 
had two sons, Domangart, the elder, who succeeded 
his father and was the progenitor of Kenneth 
Macalpin, and the line of Scottish Kings ; and God- 
fruich, or Godfrey, the younger son, who was known 
as Toshach or Ruler of the Isles, and was the pro- 
genitor of the line from which the Clan Donald 
sprang. The Seannachies carry the line through 
several generations, through Hugh the Fair Haired, 
who was inaugurated Ruler of the Isles by St. 
Columba in lona, in 574, through Ethach of the Yel- 
low Locks, and Aid^n of the Golden Hilted Sword, 
who died in 621, down to Etach III, who died in 733, 
having first united the Isles after they had been 
alternately ruled by Chiefs of the Houses of Fergus 
and Lorn. Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of the 
united Dalriads, Scots and Picts, married the daugh- 
ter of Godfrey, a later Lord of the Isles. We now 
arrive at the immediate ancestors of Somerled. 
Hailes in his Annals relates that, in 973, Marcus, 
King of the Isles ; Kenneth, King of the Scots, and 
Malcolm, King of the Cambri, entered into a bond 
for mutual defense. Then followed Gilledomnan, 
the grandfather of Somerled. Gilledomnan was 
driven from the Isles by the Scandinavians, and died 
in Ireland, where he had taken refuge. His son, 
Gillebride, who had gone to Ireland with his father, 
obtained the help of the Irish of the Clan Cholla, 
and, landing in Argyll, made a gallant attempt to 
expel the invaders. The Norsemen proved too 
strong, and Gillebride was compelled to hide in the 

History of the Clan Donald 15 

woods and caves of Morven. At this time, when 
the fortunes of the Clan were at the lowest ebb, 
there arose a savior in the person of one of the most 
celebrated of Celtic heroes, Somerled, the son of 

He was living with his father in the caves of Mor- 
ven and is described in an ancient chronicle as "A 
well tempered man, in body shapely, of a fair and 
piercing eye, of middle stature and quick discern- 
ment." His early years were passed in hunting and 
fishing; "his looking glass was the stream; his 
drinking cup the heel of his shoe ; he would rather 
spear a salmon than spear a foe ; he cared more to 
caress the skins of seals and otters than the shining 
hair of women. At present he was as peaceful as 
a torch or beacon — unlit. The hour was coming 
when he would be changed, when he would blaze 
like a burnished torch, or a beacon on a hilltop 
against which the wind is blowing." But when the 
Isles' men, over whom his ancestors had ruled, were 
in dire need of a leader Somerled came forward in 
his true character. A local tradition in Skye tells 
that the Islesmen held a council at which they de- 
cided to offer Somerled the chiefship, to be his and 
his descendants forever. They found Somerled 
fishing, and to him made their offer. Somerled re- 
plied, "Islesmen, there is a newly run salmon in the 
black pool yonder. If I catch him, I will go with 
you as your Chief ; if I catch him not, I shall remain 
where I am." The Islesmen, a race who believed 
implicitly in omens, were content, and Somerled cast 

16 History of the Clan Donald 

his line over the black pool. Soon after a shining 
salmon leapt in the sun, and the skillful angler had 
the silvery fish on the river bank. The Islesmen 
acclaimed him their leader, and as such he sailed 
back with them "over the sea to Skye," where the 
people joyously proclaimed that the Lord of the 
Isles had come. Such is the tradition in Skye. Other 
accounts say that the scene of Somerled's first 
achievements was in Morven, and his conquest of 
the Isles later. 

Somerled, Rex Insularum, took his place as a 
leader of men, from whom descended a race of 
Kings, a dynasty distinguished in the stormy his- 
tory of the Middle Ages, who ranked themselves 
before the Scottish Kings. 

"The mate of monarchs, and allied 
On equal terms with England's pride." 

The young hunter uprose a mighty warrior, who 
with dauntless courage and invincible sword struck 
terror into the hearts of his foes. Nor did he de- 
pend alone on his matchless courage. In one of 
his first encounters with the Norse invaders he made 
full use of that "quick discernment" ascribed to 
him by the early chronicler. It happened that while 
on a small island with a following of only one hun- 
dred Islesmen, he was surrounded by the whole Nor- 
wegian fleet, and, realizing that his small force was 
utterly inadequate to resist their attack, conceived 
a clever stratagem to deter the Norsemen from land- 
ing on the Island. Each of his men was ordered 

History of the Clan Donald 17 

to kill a cow, and this having been done, and the 
cows skinned, Somerled ordered his little force to 
march round the hill on which they lay encamped; 
which having been done, in full view of the enemy, 
he then made them all put on the cowhides to dis- 
guise themselves, and repeat the march round the 
hill. He now ordered his men to reverse the cow- 
hides, and for a third time march round the hill, 
thus exhibiting to the Norsemen the appearance of 
a force composed of three divisions. The ruse suc- 
ceeded, for the enemy fleet withdrew. 

This story is related in another form by the 
bards or seannachies of Sleat, as follows: There 
was a little hill betwixt them and the enemy, and 
Somerled ordered his men to put off their coats, 
and put their shorts and full armor above their coats. 
So, making them go three times in a disguised man- 
ner about the hill, that they might seem more in 
number than they really were, at last he ordered them 
to engage the Danes, saying that some of them were 
on shore and the rest in their ships ; that those on 
shore would fight but faintly so near their ships; 
withal he exhorted his soldiers to be of good courage, 
and to do as they would see him do, so they led on the 
charge. The first whom Somerled slew he ript up 
and took out his heart, desiring the rest to do the 
same, because that the Danes were no Christians. 
So the Danes were put to flight; many of them 
were lost in the sea endeavouring to gain their 
ships, the lands of Mull and Morverin being freed 
at that time from their yoke and slavery. 

18 History of the Clan Donald 

Somerled prosecuted the war into the heart of 
the enemy's country; and having gained possession 
of the mainland domain of his forefathers, he took 
the title of Thane or Regulus of Argyll, determining 
to obtain possession of the Kingdom of Man and 
the Isles and thus form a Celtic Kingdom. Olave 
the Red, then King of Man and the Isles, becoming 
alarmed at the increasing power of Somerled, ar- 
rived vdth a fleet in Stoma Bay. The "quick dis- 
cernment" of Somerled again proved equal to the 
occasion. He was desirous of obtaining the hand 
of Olave's daughter, Ragnhildis, in marriage, and 
went to meet the King of Man. Somerled wishing 
to remain unknown to Olave, said, "I come from 
Somerled, Thane of Argyll, who promises to assist 
you in your expedition, provided you bestow upon 
him the hand of your daughter, Ragnhildis." Olave, 
however, recognized Somerled, and declined his re- 
quest. Tradition says that Somerled was much in 
love with the fair Ragnhildis, and considering all is 
fair in love and war, agreed to the following plan 
to obtain her father's consent: Maurice MacNeill, 
a foster brother of Olave, but also a close friend of 
Somerled, bored several holes in the bottom of the 
King's galley, making pins to plug them when the 
necessity arose, but meanwhile filled the holes with 
tallow and butter. When, next day, Olave put to 
sea, the action of the water displaced the tallow and 
butter, and the galley began to sink. Olave and his 
men in the sinking galley called upon Somerled for 
aid, who promised help only if Olave would con- 

History of the Clan Donald 19 

sent to his marriage with Ragnhildis. The promise 
was given, Olave found safety in Somerled's galley, 
Maurice MacNeill fixed the pins he had prepared 
into the holes, and, to the King's amazement, his 
galley proceeded in safety. The marriage of Som- 
erled and Ragnhildis took place in the year 1140. 
In 1154, Olave was murdered by his nephews, who 
claimed half the Kingdom of the Isles. Godred, son 
of Olave, who was in Norway at the time, returned 
to the Isles, but his tyranny and oppression caused 
the Islesmen to revolt, and Somerled, joining forces 
with them, seized half the Kingdom of the Isles, 
and became Righ Innsegall, or King of the Isles, 
as well as Thane of Argyll, Later Somerled invaded 
the Isle of Man, defeated Godfrey, and became pos- 
sessed of the whole Kingdom of Man and the Isles. 
The power of Somerled, King of the Isles, now 
caused great anxiety on the neighboring mainland, 
and King Malcolm IV of Scotland dispatched a large 
army to Argyll. Somerled took up the challenge, 
and a hard fought battle left both sides too ex- 
hausted to continue hostilities. Peace was estab- 
lished between the King of Scotland and Somerled, 
but after suffering great provocation from Malcolm 
and his ministers, the King of the Isles again took 
up arms in 1164, and gathering a great host, 15,000 
strong, with a fleet of 164 galleys, sailed up the 
Clyde to Greenock. He disembarked in the Bay of 
St. Lawrence, and marched to Renfrew, where the 
King of Scotland's army lay. The traditional ver- 
sion of what then occurred is, that feeling reluctant 

20 History of the Clan Donald 

to join issue with the Highland host, and being 
numerically inferior, Malcolm's advisers determined 
to accomplish the death of Somerled by treachery. 
They bribed a young nephew of Somerled, named 
Maurice MacNeill, to visit his uncle and murder him. 
MacNeill was admitted to Somerled's tent, and find- 
ing him off his guard, stabbed him to the heart. 
When Somerled's army learnt of the fate of their 
great leader, they fled to their galleys and dispersed. 
Tradition tells of a dramatic episode that is said 
to have occurred when King Malcolm and his nobles 
came to view the corpse of their late powerful foe. 
One of the nobles -kicked the dead hero with his 
foot. When Maurice MacNeill, the murderer, saw 
this cowardly action, the shame of his own foul deed 
came upon him. He denounced his past treachery, 
and confessed that he had sinned "most villainously 
and against his own conscience," being "unworthy 
and base to do so." He stabbed to the heart the 
man who had insulted the mighty Somerled, and 
fled. Through one Maurice MacNeill had Somerled 
won a bride, and at the hands of another Maurice 
MacNeill met his death. With regal pomp and 
ceremony the body of the King of the Isles was 

i< * * * jjj lona's piles, 
Where rest from mortal coil the mighty of the Isles." 

Family tradition, however, says that the Mon- 
astery of Saddel was the final resting place of the 

History of the Clan Donald 21 

mighty founder and progenitor of the line of Princes 
that sat upon the Island throne, from whom de- 
scended the great Clan Donald. 


OMERLED was succeeded by his three 
sons, among whom his kingdom was 
divided. Reginald obtained Kintyre and 
Isla, and a part of Arran; Dugall ac- 
quired Lorn, Mull and Jura; and Angus succeeded 
to Bute, part of Arran and the territory laying be- 
tween Ardnamurchan and Glenelg. The three sons 
held their possessions as a free and independent 
principality, owing allegiance neither to Scotland 
nor Norway. From Reginald, styled on his seal 
Reginald, Rex Insularum, Dominus de Ergile, sprang 
the family of Isla. He died in 1207, leaving three 
sons, Donald, Roderick and Dugall. From Donald 
descended the powerful Clan which still bears his 

Donald succeeded his father in the Lordship of 
Kintyre, Isla, and other Island possessions, being 
known as King of Innsegall, and as such entered into 
an alliance with Norway against Alexander III of 
Scotland. A romantic story of these times has been 
handed down by the seannachies. On one occasion 
when the galleys were approaching land held by the 
enemy, their leader, to urge on his followers, swore 
an oath that the clansman whose hand first touched 
the shore should be the ovraer of the land forever. 
The Clan Donald hero of the story sprang to the 

History of the Clan Donald 23 

prow of his galley, and with a stroke of his dirk 
cut off his hand, and cast it upon the shore, thus 
obtaining the lands for himself and his descendants. 
To this day the crest of the MacDonalds is the bleed- 
ing hand, and the point where the hand was thrown 
is still shown in Skye, and known as Ru Barnaski- 
taig. Donald married a daughter of Walter, the 
High Steward of Scotland, progenitor of the Royal 
House of Stewart, and died about the year 1249, 
leaving two sons, Angus and Alexander, known as 
Alastair Mor. 

Angus, Lord of Isla, styled by the seannachies 
Angus Mor, had his lands ravaged by Alexander 
in of Scotland in 1255, so that, in 1263, when King 
Haco of Norway arrived in the Isles, Angus joined 
the Norwegians. Shortly afterwards, however, he 
was on friendly terms again with the Scottish King, 
for, in 1284, he was one of the three nobles from 
Argyll present at the convention by which the Maid 
of Norway was declared heiress to the Throne of 
Scotland. Angus Mor died about 1292. He had 
two sons, Alexander, his successor, and Angus. The 
elder son, Alexander of Isla, married a daughter of 
Ewen of Lorn, thereby acquiring a large addition to 
his possessions, but having joined the Lord of Lorn 
in his opposition to Robert the Bruce, he became 
involved in the ruin of that Lord. Alexander was 
imprisoned in Dundonald Castle, where he died. His 
whole possessions were forfeited, and given to his 
brother Angus Og MacDonald, who had supported 
the claims of the Bruce. Angus Og was a protector 

24 History of the Clan Donald 

of Robert the Bruce during the time of his greatest 
distress, and after the defeat of Methven gave Bruce 
a hospitable welcome to his Castle of Dunaverty, in 
August, 1306. Barbour, the metrical historian of 
the Bruce, mentions this. 

"And Angus of He that tyme was Syr 

And Lord and ledar of Kyntyr, 

The King rycht weill resawyt he 

And undertook his man to be. 

And for mair sekyrness gaiff him syne 

His Castle of Dcnaverdyne." 

At the Battle of Bannockburn, Angus Og and his 
men of the Isles, estimated by some historians at 
10,000 men, were a potent factor in determining the 
issue of the conflict, and securing Bruce's famous 
victory. When the engagement between the main 
bodies had lasted some time, Bruce made a decisive 
movement, by bringing up the Scottish reserve. Tra- 
dition says that, at this crisis in the battle the Bruce 
addressed the Lord of the Isles in a phrase used 
as a motto by some of his descendants, "My trust 
is constant in thee," and the words of Scott nobly 
express the spirit of the scene : 

"One effort more, and Scotland's free ! 
Lord of the Isles, my trust in thee 
Is firm as Ailsa Rock." 

As a reward for the services rendered by the 

History of the Clan Donald 25 

Clan Donald at Bannockburn, the Clan was granted, 
at the wish of the Bruce, the proud privilege in 
every battle of occupying the place of honor in the 
right wing of the Scottish army. Bruce also be- 
stowed upon Angus Og the Lordship of Lochaber, 
with the lands of Duror and Glencoe, and the Islands 
of Mull, Jura, Coll and Tiree. 

Angus married a daughter of Cunbui O'Cathan, 
a baron of Ulster, and with her came an unusual 
portion from Ireland in the form of men from 
twenty-four clans, from whom twenty-four families 
in Scotland descended. The descendants of these 
men are known to this day in the Highlands as 
"Tochradh nighean a' Chathanaich," or the dowry 
of O'Cathan's daughter. Angus Og died at his 
Castle of Finlaggan in Islay, in 1330, and was buried 
in the ancestral tomb in lona. His son John suc- 
ceeded him, and he had another son John, said by 
the sennachies to have been illegitimate, and known 
as Iain Fraoch, progenitor of the family of Glencoe 
and the MacDonalds of Fraoch. 

Tradition gives much of the credit for the mili- 
tary successes of Angus Og and the Clan to a magical 
green stone called the Baul Muluy, or Stone Globe 
of Molingus or Maol-iosa, the name by which was 
known St. Laserian, a saint who flourished during 
the early Columban period. This magic stone is said 
to have healed the sick, and brought victory to the 
Clan. A seventeenth century writer on the Western 
Isles thus describes the Baul Muluy: "I had like 
to have forgot a valuable curiosity which they call 

26 History of the Clan Donald 

the Baul Muluy, i. e., Molingus his Stone Globe; 
This Saint was chaplain to Mack Donald of the Isles ; 
his name is celebrated here on account of this globe, 
so much esteem'd by the Inhabitants. This stone 
for its intrinsick value has been carefully trans- 
mitted to Posterity for several ages. It is a green 
stone, much like a Globe in Figure, about the big- 
ness of a Goose Egg. The vertues of it is to remove 
Stiches from the sides of sick Persons, by laying 
it close to the Place affected, and if the Patient does 
not outlive the Distemper, they say the Stone re- 
moves out of the Bed of its own accord. They 
ascribe another extraordinary Vertue to it, and 'tis 
this : the credulous Vulgar firmly believe that if this 
Stone is cast among the Front of an Enemy, they 
will run away, and that as often as the Enemy ral- 
lies, if this stone is cast amongst them, they still lose 
courage and retire. They say that Mack Donald of 
the Isles carried this about with him, and that vic- 
tory was always on his side when he threw it among 
the enemy." The stone continued to be used for the 
"cure of both man and beast" until about 1840, when 
it was lost "by being committed to the custody of 
a gentleman who partook too much of the scepticism 
of the age to have any^ faith in its virtue." 

John, the son of Angus Og, succeeded to the Lord- 
ship of the Isles, and was known as Good John of 
Isla, because of his gifts to the Church. He died 
at his own Castle of Artornish. An ancient manu- 
script translated from the Gaelic tells how "many 
priests and monks took the sacrament at his funeral, 

History of the Clan Donald 27 

and they embalmed the body of this dear man, and 
brought it to Icolumkill ; the abbot, monks, and vicar 
came as they ought to meet the King of Fiongal 
(i. e., Western Isles), and out of great respect to 
his memory mourned eight days and nights over it, 
and laid it in the same grave with his father, in the 
church of Oran, 1380." He was twice married. He 
first married Amie MacRuari, sister of Ranald, to 
whose estates she succeeded. By her, he had three 
sons : John, who died in the lifetime of his father ; 
Ranald, the ancestor of Clan Ranald and Glengarry ; 
and Godfrey. Without any cause he divorced his 
first wife, with whom he had obtained such great 
possessions, and married the Princess Margaret, 
daughter of King Robert II, the first Stewart King 
of Scotland. By his second wife, he had several 
sons, Donald, the eldest, who became his successor; 
John the Tainister, or Thane, ancestor of the family 
of Dunnyveg ; Angus, who left no issue ; Alexander, 
known as Alastair Carrach, ancestor of the family 
of Keppoch; and Hugh, whose descendants became 

Ranald, the son of John by his first marriage, was 
chief ruler of the Isles in his father's lifetime and 
"was old in the government at his father's death. 
He assembled the gentry of the Isles, brought the 
sceptre from Kildonan in Eig, and delivered it to his 
brother Donald, who was thereupon called Donald, 
Lord of the Isles, contrary to the opinion of the men 
of the Isles." 

Donald, afterwards known as Donald of Harlaw, 

28 History of the Clan Donald 

therefore succeeded his father. Under the feudal 
law, the sons of the first wife would have succeeded 
by seniority, but such succession did not necessarily 
take place under the Celtic law of tanistry, or elective 
chiefship. Further, by Royal Charter of Robert II, 
the destination of the Lordship of the Isles was so 
altered as to cause it to descend to the grandchildren 
of the King. Therefore, as before mentioned, Ran- 
ald handed over to Donald the sceptre of Innesgall. 
Donald married the Lady Mary Leslie, afterwards 
Countess of Ross in her own right, which Earldom 
Donald claimed through his wife, thereby becoming 
involved in a contest with the Regent Duke of Al- 
bany. Donald prepared to defend his rights, the 
Fiery Cross blazed through the Isles, and the whole 
clan rallied to the fight. With "Fifty thousand Hie- 
lanmen, a marching to Harlaw," Donald was met by 
the Earl of Mar at the head of the Lowlanders, and 
the celebrated Battle of Harlaw was fought on the 
24th June, 1411. As told in the old ballad, neither 
side could claim superiority. 

"At Monanday at mornin' 

The battle it began. 
On Saturday at gloamin' 

Ye'd scarce tell wha had wan. 
And sic a weary buryin' 

The like ye never saw 
As there was the Sunday after that 

On the muirs down by Harlaw." 

History of the Clan Donald 29 

Donald of Harlaw died in Isla, in 1420, leaving two 
sons, Alexander, who succeeded him as Lord of the 
Isles and Earl of Ross; and Angus, Bishop of the 

Alexander, Lord of the Isles, had three sons, John, 
who succeeded him ; Hugh, Lord of Sleat ; and Celest- 
ine, who became Lord of Lochlash. 

John, Lord of the Isles, and Earl of Ross, on 13th 
February, 1462, entered into a treaty with Edward 
IV of England, and the banished Earl of Douglas 
for the conquest of Scotland, and the division of the 
Kingdom, north of the Forth, between the Earl of 
Ross, the Earl of Douglass, and Donald Balloch, 
Lord of Dunnyveg and Captain of the Clan Donald. 
On entering into the treaty John used the style of an 
independent Prince, granting a commission to his 
"trusty and well beloved cousins, Ranald of the Isles, 
and Duncan, Archdeacon of the Isles," to confer with 
the representatives of Edward IV. The Lord of the 
Isles raised a large force under his natural son, 
Angus, and Donald Balloch, and seized the burghs 
and sheriffdom of Inverness, Nairn, Ross and Caith- 
ness. The Government suppressed the rebellion and 
John was summoned before Parliament for treason. 
He however made his peace with King James III, 
and in July, 1476, was restored to the Earldom of 
Ross and Lordship of the Isles. He voluntarily 
resigned the Earldom of Ross and the lands of Kin- 
tyre and Knapdale, and instead was created a Peer 
of Parliament by the title of Lord of the Isles. He 
had no son by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Lord 

80 History of the Clan Donald 

Livingston, but the succession to the new peerage, 
and the estates, was secured in favor of his natural 
son, Angus. 

The resignation of the Earldom of Ross and the 
lands of Kintyre and Knapdale angered the leading 
men of the Isles, who, in opposition to the Lord of 
the Isles, joined his son Angus in an attempt to 
recover the Earldom. At the head of a large force 
of Islesmen, Angus took the field. The Earl of 
Athole was sent against him, but was defeated, and 
the Earls of Crawford and Huntly met with no bet- 
ter success. A third force sent against him under 
the Earls of Argyll .and Athole, was accompanied 
by Angus' father, and a hard-fought battle, known 
as the Battle of Bloody Bay, resulted in the com- 
plete victory of Angus and his followers. Angus 
obtained possession of the territories of the Clan, 
and was recognized as its head. He was later rec- 
onciled to his father, but remained in open resistance 
to the Government during the remainder of his life. 
Angus had married a daughter of the Earl of Argyll, 
and some ancient accounts say that she was the 
mother of the infant Donald Dubh, who was carried 
off by the Duke of Athole, and placed in the hands of 
Argyll, who imprisoned the child in the Castle of 
Inchconnel. But as to who really was the mother of 
Angus' son, Donald Dubh, the seannachies do not 
know. Angus avenged himself terribly on Athole, 
whose territory he raided, burning and slaughtering. 

Another feud in which Angus was involved re- 
sulted in his death, in 1490. This feud with Mac- 

History of the Clan Donald 31 

kenzie of Kintail was caused by the latter's treat- 
ment of his wife, the half sister of Angus. Mac- 
kenzie had married the Lady Margaret of the Isles, 
daughter of John of the Isles. The lady is said to 
have been blind in one eye. Their married life was 
neither long nor happy, and the story goes that Mac- 
kenzie sent the one-eyed lady home to Angus, riding 
on a one-eyed horse, attended by a one-eyed servant, 
followed by a one-eyed dog. To avenge the affront 
of the one-eyed entourage, Angus marched to Inver- 
ness to attack Mackenzie, where he was murdered by 
his own harper, MacCairbre, who cut his throat with 
a long knife. 

Alexander of Locklash, nephew of John and son 
of his brother Celestine, succeeded to the Lordship 
of the Isles, and led the Clan to Inverness in an en- 
deavor to recover possession of the Earldom of 
Ross. Having taken the Royal Castle of Inverness 
he proceeded to ravage the Strathconnan lands of the 
Mackenzies who, however, surprised and defeated 
the invaders, Alexander being wounded. In conse- 
quence of this insurrection, the Estates in Edin- 
burgh, May, 1493, declared the title and possessions 
of the Lord of the Isles to be forfeited to the Crown. 
John, the former Lord, retired to the Monastery of 
Paisley, where he died about 1498, and, at his re- 
quest, was buried in the tomb of his royal ancestor, 
Robert II of Scotland. In 1497, Alexander, again 
invaded Ross, but was surprised at the Island of 
Oransay, and put to death. 

In 1501, Donald Dubh, who, as before mentioned, 

32 History of the Clan Donald 

had been kidnapped in infancy by the Duke of Ath- 
ole, and confined by Argyll in the Castle of Inchcon- 
nel, was released by the MacDonalds of Glencoe, by 
the strong hand. The Islesmen now regarded him as 
their chieftain, and maintained that he was the law- 
ful son of Angus and his wife, the Lady Margaret 
Campbell. On his escape from Inchconnel, Donald 
Dubh went to the Isles, and convened the Clan. In 
1503, the Islesmen and the western clans, under 
Donald, invaded Badenoch, necessitating the calling 
out of the whole force of the Kingdom of Scotland, 
north of the Forth, to suppress the rebellion, two 
years elapsing before Donald and his followers were 
finally overcome. In 1505, the King in person led a 
force to the Isles to disperse the Islesmen, and Don- 
ald Dubh was captured and committed to Edinburgh 
Castle, where he was kept prisoner for nearly forty 

In 1539, Donald MacDonald of Sleat, Donald 
Gorme, as lawful heir of John, claimed the Lordship 
of the Isles, but received a wound in the foot from 
an arrow, which proved fatal. 

After nearly forty years imprisonment Donald 
Dubh, in 1543, escaped, was enthusiastically received 
by the Island Chiefs, and at the head of a large 
force invaded Argyll's territory, slew many of his 
feudatories, and plundered his possessions. In 1545, 
at the instigation of the Earl of Lennox, the Islesmen 
agreed to transfer their allegiance to England, and 
Donald and the Earl agreed to raise an army. To 
carry on the war a ship was sent by England to 

History of the Clan Donald 33 

Mull with a supply of money, which was given to 
MacLean of Duart to be distributed among the com- 
manders of the army, which they not receiving in 
proportion as it should have been distributed among 
them, caused the army to disperse. The Earl of Len- 
nox then disbanded his own men, and made his peace 
with the King. Donald Dubh went to Ireland to 
raise men, but died on his way to Dublin, at Drog,- 
heda, of a fever, without issue of either sons or 
daughters. With him terminates the direct line of 
the Lords of the Isles, and the title, annexed inalien- 
ably to the Crown, forms one of the titles of the 
Prince of Wales. 


I HE power and importance of the ancestors 
of the Clan Donald, from whom the fam- 
ilies of MacDonald, McDonald, McDon- 
nell and other branches of the Clan 
take descent, is shown by the extensive terri- 
tories, regal state and ceremonies, belonging to, and 
observed by those ancestors, the ancient Kings of 
Innsegall, the Lords of the Isles. 

The number of the Western Isles of Scotland ex- 
ceeds two hundred. The principal possessions of the 
Lords of the Isles included the following territories 
in these Isles, and on the mainland. 

The Island of Ysla, or Isla, was in ancient times 
the principal abode of the Lord of the Isles, and is 
one of the largest and most important of the Islands. 
Loch Finlagan lies in the centre of the Isle. The lake 
takes its name from Isle Finlagan, which is located 
in the loch, and is "famous for being once the court 
in which the great MacDonald, King of the Isles, 
had his residence. His guards de corps, called 
Lucht-tach, kept guard on the lakeside nearest to 
the Isle." Here were observed the installation and 
other ceremonies referred to later. 

Among other Island territories were the Isles of 
Gigha, Jura, Tiree, Eigg, Ronin or Rum, Lewethy 


History of the Clan Donald 85 

or Lewis, Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Ben- 
becula, Barra, Canna, 

"And Scarba's Isle, whose tortured shore 
Still rings to Corrievreken's roar, 

And lonely Colonsay." -j ^ °^A^'')Q, 

On the mainland were the Lordship of Lochaber, 
including Kilmallie and Kilmoivoig, The Lordship of 
Garmoran, including Moydart, Arisaig, Morar and 
Knoydart. Also Morven, Knapdale, Duror, Kintyre 
and Glencoe. 

Each Island is replete with historical interest. 
The little Isle of Canna adjoins Ronin, or Rum. In a 
pretty bay on Canna there is a lofty and slender 
rock, detached from the shore, upon the summit of 
which are the ruins of a very small tower. 

"Canna's tower, that, steep and gray, 
Like falcon nest o'erhangs the bay." 

The tower is scarcely accessible by a steep and pre- 
cipitous path, and here it is one of the Kings, or 
Lords of the Isles, confined a beautiful lady of whom 
he was jealous, and whose restless spirit is said to 
still haunt the ruin. 

Ronin, or Rum, is a very rough and mountainous 
Island, "sixteen myle long and six in bredthe in the 
narrowest, ane forest of heigh mountains and abun- 
dance of little deir in it." 

On the shore of the Isle of Eigg is a cavern, invis- 
ible from the sea, which was the scene of a fierce 

36 History of the Clan Donald 

feudal vengeance. This cave has a very narrov? en- 
trance, through vi^hich it is just possible to enter on 
all fours, but rises steep and lofty vs^ithin, and runs 
far into the rock. Here two hundred of the Mac- 
Donalds vs^ere slain by the MacLeods. Tradition says 
that the MacDonalds of Eigg had done some injury 
to the Chieftain of MacLeod. The story on the Isle 
tells that it was by a personal attack on the Chief- 
tain, whose back was broken. Other accounts say 
that some MacLeods, who had landed on Eigg, using 
some freedom with the young women of the Mac- 
Donalds, were bpund hand and foot and turned 
adrift in their boat. To avenge the offense, Mac- 
Leod sailed to Eigg with such a force of men as to 
render resistance hopeless. The MacDonalds, fear- 
ing his vengeance, concealed themselves in the cave, 
and after a long search the MacLeods returned to 
their galleys, thinking the MacDonalds had fled from 
the Isle. But next morning the MacLeods espied 
from their galleys a man on the shore, and, at once 
landing, traced his footsteps in the snow to the 
mouth of the cavern. They surrounded the entrance 
and summoned the refugees in the cave to deliver up 
the offending individuals. This was refused, and 
MacLeod then kindled, at the entrance of the cavern, 
a huge fire of turf and fern, and maintained it until 
all within were destroyed by suffocation. The bones 
of men, women and children long remained on the 
stony floor of the cavern, a mournful testimony to 
the fierce vengeance of MacLeod. 

In the Island of Skye the Lords of the Isles also 

History of the Clan Donald 87 

held extensive possessions, and at Duntulm is their 
ancient Castle, with the Hill of Pleas nearby, 
where in former days the MacDonalds sat dispensing 
justice. Sheriff Nicholson's poetic description of 
Skye may equally well apply to the natural beauties 
of others of the Islands, each one an Isle of Mist. 

"Lovest thou mountains great, 

Peaks to the clouds that soar, 
Corrie and fell where eagles dwell. 

And cataracts dash evermore? 
Lovest thou green grassy glades. 

By the sunshine sweetly kist. 
Murmuring waves and echoing caves? 

Then go to the Isle of Mist." 

Among the above mainland possessions of the 
Lords of the Isles is included Kintyre, although in 
ancient times, Magnus, the barefooted King of Nor- 
way, obtained it as an Island, when Donald Bane 
of Scotland ceded to him "the Western Isles, or all 
those places that can be surrounded in a boat." The 
Mull, or promontory, of Kintyre is joined to the 
mainland of South Knapdale by a very narrow neck 
of land, the arms of the sea on either side being di- 
vided by less than a mile. Magnus obtained Kintyre 
as an "Island" by a ruse. He placed himself in the 
stern of a boat, held the rudder, and had the boat 
drawn over the narrow neck of land. 

The ceremony observed at the Proclamation of a 
new Lord of the Isles was in every way regal in 

38 History of the Clan Donald 

pomp and display. At the time appointed for the 
solemn inauguration, there were gathered together 
the Bishop of the Isles, the Bishop of Argyll and 
seven priests, together with all the heads of the 
tribes of the Clan in the Isles and mainland. They 
took up their allotted stations round a big stone of 
seven foot square in which there was a deep impres- 
sion made to receive the feet of MacDonald ; for he 
was crowned King of the Isles standing in this 
stone, "denoting that he would walk in the footsteps 
and uprightness of his predecessors." He was in- 
vested with a white mantle to show his purity of 
spirit and integrity of heart, and that he would be 
a guiding light unto his people, and maintain the 
true religion. The mantle was a perquisite of the 
hereditary seannachy, or bard, of the Clan. The 
Bishop then gave to the Chief "a white rod in his 
hand, intimating that he had power to rule, not with 
tyranny and partiality, but with discretion and sin- 
cerity. He was then invested with the sword of his 
forefathers, as a symbol that it was his duty to pro- 
tect his people. The new Lord was lastly blessed 
and solemnly anointed by the Bishop and the seven 
priests, and the seannachies recited the long list 
and glories of the Chief's forefathers. The cere- 
monies were concluded by a week's feasting of all 
present by the Lord of the Isles. 

The Lord's Council of the Isles, sixteen in number, 
met at Isle Finlagan, round a table of stone, at the 
head of which, on a stone seat, sat MacDonald. The 
Council of the Isles was composed of four Thanes; 

History of the Clan Donald 39 

four Armins, or Sub-Thanes ; four squires, and four 
freeholders. There was the right of appeal to the 
Council from all the courts in the Isles, which latter 
were held on hills in the different Islands. Three 
hills in Skye are still known as The Hill of Judg- 
ment, The Hill of Counsel, and The Hill of Hanging. 
In all matters of life and death the word of the Lord 
of the Isles was final, and grim justice was often dis- 
pensed. The ancient records tell of a guilty couple 
who were buried alive, and of criminals who were 
put to death by being placed in barrels lined with 
spikes, and rolled down a hill, called to this day 
Cnoc Roill, or Barrel Hill. 

In addition to the Council, the Lords of the Isles 
had various Officers of State, with certain duties 
hereditary in their families : 

The MacBeths were their physicians, men of great 
learning, with extensive knowledge of the properties 
of herbs. 

The Mackinnons or Clan Finan, Hereditary Mar- 
shals; with the Maclnnes as hereditary bowmen to 
the Mackinnons. 

The MacDuffies of Colonsay were their Recorders. 

The MacLavertys, their speakers or Orators, 
whose duties included the preservation of the gene- 
alogy of the family, and the preparation of the nup- 
tial song on the occasion of marriages, and other 
eulogies, which the seannachy recited. Their pecu- 
liar method of study has been described: "They 
shut their doors and windows for a day's time, and 
lie on their backs, with a stone upon their belly. 

40 History of the Clan Donald 

and plads about their heads, and their eyes covered, 
they pump their brains for rhetorical encomium or 

The MacSporrans, their Purse Bearers. 

The MacVurichs, their Bards, are more fully re- 
ferred to below. 

The MacArthurs were their Pipers. They are a 
branch of the Clan Campbell and from time imme- 
morial a long line of hereditary pipers to the Lords 
of the Isles were MacArthurs, who held the lands 
of Hunglater in Trotternish. The last of the line of 
hereditary pipers of the MacArthur family died in 

The MacRurys were their hereditary Armorers 
in Trotternish. 

Under the Lordship of the Isles there was a Col- 
lege or heirarchy of bards. In Angus Og's Charter 
to the Abbey of lona one of the witnesses is Lachlan 
MacVurich, described as Archipoeta, or Chief Poet. 
Then and afterwards the MacVurichs were learned 
in Irish, English and Latin, and the fact that they 
studied in the Colleges of Ireland seems borne out 
by the Hibernian smack in many of their compo- 
sitions. After the fall of the Lordship of the Isles, 
they adhered to the fortunes of the Clan Ranald 
branch, from whom they received as the emolu- 
ments of their office, the farm of Stelligarry, and 
four pennies of the farm of Dremisdale. After 
1745, the oiiice of family bard was abandoned by 
the Clan Ranald. Among the hereditary bards 
were those of the MacDonalds of Sleat, and a family 

History of the Clan Donald 41 

of the name of MacRuari held lands in Trotternish 
in virtue of their office as bards to this family. The 
influence of the bards as a moral force in the social 
system of the Isles was considerable. It was their 
function to sing the prowess and fame of those who 
had won distinction in the field, and to incite the 
men of their own day to imitate the heroes of the 

A number of ancient customs and superstitions 
prevailed among the Islesmen, many, no doubt, origi- 
nating from the nature of their Island home. The 
forces of nature seen at their grandest in the tower- 
ing mountains, foaming torrents, precipitous crags 
and mountain lochs, were in the minds of the super- 
stitious Islesmen subject to the influence of various 
friendly and malign spirits, abiding in the black 
unfathomed depths, giddy recesses and gullies filled 
with hardened snow. An overflowing lake or a dis- 
aster on a mountain precipice were directly to be 
ascribed to the evil influence of some power inhabit- 
ing the region. The kelpie, or water horse, in every 
loch, was believed to warn by preternatural noises 
those about to be drowned, and each rushing moun- 
tain stream had its own particular water fairy. 
They had several methods of consulting the fates. 
One of the most remarkable was when a number of 
men retired to a lonely and secluded place, where 
one of the number was, with the exception of his 
head, enveloped in a cow's hide, and left alone for 
the night. Certain invisible beings then came, and 
answering the questions which he put to them, re- 

42 History of the Clan Donald 

lieved him. Another method of seeking information 
was known as the Taghairm nan caht, and consisted 
in putting a live cat on a spit, and roasting it until 
other cats made their appearance, and, answering 
the question, obtained the release of the unfortunate 

A story is told concerning one of the clergy of 
the Isles who was a magician, so learned in the black 
art that he was able to command the services of a 
certain Satanic gentleman, whom 

"The old painters limned with a hoof and a horn 
A beak and a scorpion tail." 

The reverend magician, wishing to ascertain the date 
upon which Shrovetide should be observed, went to 
one of the Island's lofty precipices, and standing on 
the edge called up his servant from the infernal re- 
gions, and at a word transformed him into a horse. 
Leaping on his back, they set off for Rome, the horse 
trying to get rid of his rider by propounding ques- 
tions which involved his master mentioning the 
name of the Deity in his answer. All in vain. Next 
morning Rome was reached ; and the high dignitary 
whom the magician consulted hurried in with a 
lady's slipper on one foot. He charged the Island 
parson with his diabolical craft; the cleric wagged 
an accusing finger at the telltale slipper, obtained 
the required information, and each resolved to keep 
the other's secret safely. 

Another reputed magician connected with the 

History of the Clan Donald 43 

family was one of the MacDonalds of Keppoch. He 
and Michael Scott, the Wizard of the North, are said 
to have together studied the black art in Italy at 
the end of the fifteenth century, and MacDonald, it 
is said, was the more proficient. He was accustomed 
to converse with a female brownie, named Glaslig, 
for whom he was more than a match. On one occa- 
sion he asked her the most remote circumstance 
she remembered, when she replied that she recol- 
lected the time when the great Spey, the nurse of 
salmon, was a green meadow for sheep and lambs to 
feed on. 

In lona are certain stones which the Islesmen 
firmly believed were to hasten the end of the world. 
The small upper ones seem part of the handle of a 
cross. When the lower hollowed stone should be 
worn out by turning them round, then the end of the 
world would ensue. Nearby, a kind of a font sunk 
in the ground was the subject of a tradition, that 
whenever it was emptied of the rain water which 
it generally contained, a northerly breeze would 
immediately spring up. 

An impressive and reverent ritual was followed 
on the occasion of a galley putting to sea. The 
steersman said, "Let us bless our ship"; the crew 
responding, "God the Father bless her." Each per- 
son of the Trinity was successively invoked, and the 
steersman then asked what they feared if God the 
Father be with them, repeating the same question 
for each of the Trinity, and to each of the three 
questions the crew responded "We do not fear any- 

44 History of the Clan Donald 

thing." Skye's poet, Alexander Nicolson, refers to 
this Liturgy in "The Bark of Clan Ranald." 

"May the Holy Trinity's blessing 
Rule the hurricane breath of the air, 

And swept be the rough wild waters. 
To draw us to haven fair." 

In addition to the customs and beliefs indigenous 
to their Island home, the Clan Donald had many 
usages common to all Highland clans. When in any 
sudden emergency it was necessary to gather the 
Clan, the cross, or tarich, known as the Fiery Cross, 
was immediately dispatched through the territories 
to call the clansmen to the appointed place of rendez- 
vous. This signal consisted of two pieces of wood, 
which the Chieftain fixed in the shape of a cross. 
One of the ends of the crosspiece was seared in the 
fire, and extinguished in the blood of a goat which 
had been killed by the Chief, while from the other 
end was suspended a piece of linen or white cloth 
dipped in the blood of the goat. The Fiery Cross 
was delivered to a swift messenger, who ran at full 
speed shouting the battle cry of the clan. The cross 
was delivered from hand to hand, and as each fresh 
runner sped on his way the clan assembled with 
great celerity. At sight of the Fiery Cross every 
man of the clan, from sixteen to sixty, was obliged 
to instantly repair, prepared for battle, to the place 
of rendezvous; as told in "The Pibroch of Donald 

History of the Clan Donald 45 

"Come every hill-plaid, and 

True heart that wears one, 
Come every steel blade, and 

Strong hand that bears one. 
Leave untended the herd, 

The flock without shelter ; 
Leave the corpse uninterr'd 

The bride at the altar ; 
Leave the deer, leave the steer. 

Leave net and barges : 
Come with your fighting gear. 

Broadswords and targes !" 

Every clansman, from childhood, was trained to 
battle for the clan and its Chief, and to excel in 
hardihood and endurance. The reproach of effemi- 
nancy was the most bitter which could be thrown 
upon him. It is related of an old chieftain, of over 
seventy years of age, that when he and his follow- 
ers were surprised by night, he MTapped his plaid 
around him and lay contentedly in the snow. His 
grandson had rolled a large snowball and placed it 
under his head. "Out upon thee," said the old Chief, 
kicking the frozen bolster away ; "art thou so effemi- 
nate as to need a pillow?" Angus Og led 10,000 of 
such bold and hardy men of the Clan Donald to the 
field of Bannockburn, and Donald commanded no less 
a force at Harlow ; while the number of galleys that 
accompanied the Lord of the Isles to sea varied from 
sixty to one hundred and sixty. 
The following account of the early drinking cus- 

46 History of the Clan Donald 

toms sounds strange in these times: "The manner 
of drinking used by the chief man of the Isles is 
called in their language Streak, i. e., a Round; for 
the company sat in a circle, the cup-bearer fill'd the 
drink round to them, and all was drunk out, what- 
ever the liquor was, whether strong or weak; they 
continued drinking sometimes twenty-four, some- 
times forty-eight hours. It was reckoned a piece of 
manhood to drink until they became drunk, and there 
were two men with a barrow attending punctually 
on such occasions. They stood at the door until 
some became drunk, and they carry'd them upon the 
barrow to bed, and returned again to their post as 
long as any continued fresh, and so carried off the 
whole company, one by one, as they became drunk." 
The castles of the Chiefs of Clan Donald were both 
numerous and picturesque. Usually situated on the 
seashore to obtain the communication afforded by 
the ocean, they were veritable fortresses, approach- 
able only by narrow and precipitous stairs or draw- 
bridges, easily defended against any force advancing 
with hostile purpose. Duntulm, for centuries the 
chief seat of the MacDonalds of the Isles, stood on 
the very brink of a cliff down which its windows 
looked sheer into the sea. In earlier times it was 
known as Dun Dhaibidh or David, the name of a 
viking who had seized it from the Celts. When 
Donald threw the bloody hand upon the rocky shore, 
the MacDonalds obtained possession and erected 
Duntulm Castle. Inaccessible from the sea and 
almost unapproachable from the land side owing to 

History of the Clan Donald 47 

a deep chasm between the castle and the mainland, 
up which the sea came foaming at high tide, it was 
reached only by a drawbridge, controlled by the in- 
mates of the Castle. The garden of the Castle on 
the summit of the rock is said to have been formed 
by soil brought by the MacDonalds from seven king- 
doms — England, Ireland, Norway, France, Spain, 
Germany and Denmark, and on the rock were the 
Hills of Judgment, and of Counsel and the Hill of 
Hanging. Far below, on the rocks by the shore there 
is still to be seen a deep groove, which tradition says 
was caused by the keels of the galleys as they were 
drawn ashore. Duntulm is now but a ruin, through 
which, according to popular imagination, stalked 
the ghost of Donald Gorme, cruelly put to death in 
the old Castle, to whose weird visitations is ascribed 
the desertion of Duntulm by the MacDonalds. An- 
other story runs that, about 1750 a nursemaid play- 
ing with one of the children of the family, let fall 
the child out of a window overlooking the rocks far 
below. "Drown me that woman !" said MacDonald, 
and the unhappy woman was set adrift in a boat full 
of holes and left to drown in the sea. As the party 
who had placed her in the boat returned they saw a 
white object on the face of the Castle cliff, which 
proved to be the child caught on a rock by its clothes, 
and uninjured. Too late, however, to save the 
wretched nursemaid ; and the catastrophe is said to 
have caused the MacDonald family to forever leave 
the castle that was "once the dwelling of a King." 
One of the most important Castles of the Clan 

48 History of the Clan Donald 

was Artornish, situated in Morven, on the mainland 
side of the Sound of Mull. At this Castle met the 
parliaments or assemblies of the vassals and depen- 
dents of the Lords of the Isles ; and from here John 
MacDonald, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, act- 
ing as an independent sovereign, dispatched his am- 
bassadors to sign a treaty with Edward IV of 

Opposite Artornish, on a high promontory in the 
Bay of Aros, on the Island of Mull, was another 
Castle of the Clan, Aros Castle, where the chieftains 
of the Isles were first called together, and then made 
prisoners by order of James VI, in 1608. 

The Castle of Mingarry is situated on the coast 
near Ardnamurchan Point. This ancient seat of the 
Clan was built in the thirteenth century, and was 
used by Allaster MacDonald, known as Colquitto, as 
the prison of the covenanters captured by him. 

Invergarry Castle, the stronghold of the McDon- 
nells of Glengarry, located on a steep and woody 
brae near the Caledonian Canal, was sacked and 
burned by the Duke of Cumberland after the rising 
of 1745. 

Castletirrim, or Islandtirrim, the seat of Clan 
Ranald, was situated on a rocky promontory of 
Moydart. Only a ruin now remains. Allan of Moy- 
dart, before joining the Earl of Mar in the rising 
of 1715, set it on fire, with this spirited address to 
the Clan, "If we win the day, my King will give me 
a better house ; if we lose, I shall not require it." 

The war cry of the Clan Donald, to which every 
clansman must answer, was Fraoch Eilan, or The 

History of the Clan Donald 49 

Heathy Isle ; the McDonnell branch of the Clan claim- 
ing as their peculiar slogan, Craig an Fhithich, or 
The Raven's Rock; while the Clan Ranald branch 
used the cry, A dh aindeoin cotheireadh e!, or In 
Spite of All Opposition. 

The Badge of the Clan is the Fraoch Gorm, or com- 
mon heath. 

The Tartan of Clan Ranald, Glengarry and Glen- 
coe is a dark plaid of green, blue and black, with red 
stripes intersecting ; a white stripe being introduced 
for distinction in the tartans of Glengarry and Clan 
Ranald. The striking rose red tartan of the ancient 
Lords of the Isles is now the tartan of Sleat and 
Keppoch; the Sleat tartan being, however, with- 
out the black line found in that of the Lords of 
the Isles. 

Although many variations are found in the arms 
of the different branches of the Clan, two features of 
the MacDonald arms are almost invariably present, 
the Galley and the Eagle. The Galley is found as 
far back as the time of Reginald, the son of Somer- 
led, and is supposed to represent the ship in which 
the three Princes Colla sailed over from Ireland to 
Scotland. The outline of the Galley is seen carved 
in the mortar of a window arch of old Duntulm 
Castle. In the seal of John, last Lord of the Isles, 
who was forfeited in the Earldom of Ross, in 1476, 
we find the Eagle against the mast of the Galley; 
the two emblems being symbolical, the Galley of the 
sovereignty of the Lords over the Western Isles, and 
the Eagle of the Royal superiority of the Chiefs of 
Clan Donald. 


jHICH of the three branches of the family, 
Clan Ranald, Glengarry and Sleat, was 
by right of blood entitled to the Chief- 
ship of the whole Clan Donald, and the 
male representation of Somerled, has long been a 
contested point. These are the three Chiefs to 
whom Sir Walter Scott refers in the Song of Flora 
Maclvor : 

"0 ! sprung from the Kings who in Islay kept state, 
Proud Chiefs of Clan Ranald, Glengarry and Sleat, 
Combine like three streams from one mountain of 

And resistless in union rush down on the foe !" 

The controversy which long existed between the 
Chiefs, arose from the fact that Donald, the son of 
Good John of Isla by his second marriage with the 
Princess Margaret, succeeded his father in prefer- 
ence to Ranald, the son of John of Isla's first mar- 
riage with Amie MacRuari. As told in Chapter II, 
such succession was apparently by Ranald's consent, 
yet there seems every reason to believe that Ranald 
was legitimate, and therefore Lord of the Isles de 
jure, though de facto his younger half-brother su- 
perseded him in the succession. As mentioned later 

History of the Clan Donald 51 

in this chapter, the branch of Sleat takes descent 
from Donald, while from Ranald, the excluded heir, 
descended the Chiefs of Clan Ranald, and the Chiefs 
of the McDonnells of Glengarry. Also it is a matter 
of dispute between the two latter branches whether 
Allan of Moydart, ancestor of Clan Ranald, or Don- 
ald, ancestor of Glengarry, was the elder of the sons 
of Ranald the superseded son of John of Isla. 

In 1911 the Chief and Captain of Clan Ranald, 
M'Donell of Glengarry, and MacDonald of Sleat, en- 
tered into an agreement regarding the healing of the 
ancient dispute. The agreement was come to be- 
tween the three heads of the branches, viz. : Angus 
Roderick MacDonald, otherwise Mac Mhic Ailein, 
Chief and Captain of Clan Ranald; Aeneas Ranald 
M'Donell, otherwise Mac Mhic Alasdair, of Glen- 
garry; and Sir Alexander Wentworth MacDonald 
Bosville MacDonald, otherwise Mac Dhonuill Nan 
Eilean, of Sleat. The agreement recited, that fol- 
lowing upon the forfeiture and death of John, Lord 
of the Isles and Earl of Ross, and the death without 
issue, in 1545, of his grandson Donald Dubh, the 
various branches of Clan Donald, of which the Lord 
of the Isles was supreme and undisputed Chief, 
separated from and became independent of one an- 
other. Also, that while claims to the Supreme 
Chiefship of the whole Clan Donald had been main- 
tained by their predecessors, the whole Clan had 
never admitted or decided in favor of any of their 
claims; and, although no one of the three heads of 
the branches abandoned his claim, they agreed to 

52 History of the Clan Donald 

cease from active assertion of such claim ; and that 
in the event of more than one of them being present 
on any occasion, and the question of preeminence or 
precedency within the Clan having to be considered, 
such question should be decided for the occasion 
by lot. 

The immediate ancestor of the family of Sleat, 
was Hugh MacDonald, Lord of Sleat, a younger son 
of Alexander, Lord of the Isles, and therefore grand- 
son of Donald, the son of Good John of Isla. A son 
John, whom Hugh of Sleat had by his first wife, 
Fynvola, daughter of Alexander Maclan of Ardna- 
murchan, died without issue, but by a second wife, of 
the Clan Gunn, he had another son, Donald, called 
Gallach, so called because he was born and bred in 
his mother's country of Caithness. Hugh had also 
several other sons, and his descendants were so 
numerous in the sixteenth century that they were 
known as the Clan Uisdein, or children of Hugh. 
They were also called the Clan Donald North, to dis- 
tinguish them from the MacDonalds of Isla and 
Kintyre, who were known as the Clan Iain Vohr 
and Clan Donald South. Since the extinction of the 
direct line of the family of the Isles, in the middle 
of the sixteenth century, MacDonald of Sleat has 
always been styled in Gaelic, Mac Dhonuill nan 
Eilean, or MacDonald of the Isles. 

Hugh died in 1498, and his son, Donald Gallach, 
was murdered by his illegitimate brother, Archi- 
bald Dubh, in 1506. Donald Gallach's grandson, 
Donald Gorme, claimed the Lordship of the Isles, 

History of the Clan Donald 53 

and died in 1539, from a wound in the foot. His 
son, Donald MacDonald Gormeson of Sleat, who 
was a minor at the time of his father's death, 
ranged himself on the side of Mary, Queen of 
Scots, when the disputes about her marriage began 
in 1565, and died in 1585. 

A story is told of Donald Gormeson that in the 
time of Queen Elizabeth he was invited to a banquet 
given by the Lord Mayor of London, at which, by 
an oversight, he was given a seat some way down 
the table. This breach of etiquette was pointed out 
to the Lord Mayor, it being told him that MacDonald 
was actually a great Prince in his own country of 
the Isles, and should have properly been seated in 
the place of honor beside his Lordship. The Lord 
Mayor at once sent a message of apology, request- 
ing the Chief to occupy a seat beside him. Mac- 
Donald replied to the message, "Tell his Lordship 
not to be troubling himself. Wherever MacDonald 
is sitting, that will be the head of the table." 

His eldest son, Donald Gorme Mor, fifth in descent 
from Hugh of Sleat, soon after succeeding his father, 
found himself involved in a deadly feud with the 
MacLeans of Duart, in which the interference of the 
government was necessary. The following is the 
traditional story regarding the origin of a feud be- 
tween Donald and MacLeod of Dunvegan. They 
were already bitter foes when MacLeod looking from 
his Castle of Dunvegan one wild and stormy night, 
exclaimed, "If my bitterest foe were at the foot of 
those rocks demanding shelter, on such a night I 

54 History of the Clan Donald 

could not refuse it." He was taken at his word, 
for the galley of the Chief of Sleat was cast upon 
the rocks below, and MacDonald claimed the sacred 
right of hospitality. When the MacDonalds and 
the MacLeods sat down to eat together, outwardly 
at peace, the conversation turned to the richness of 
their dirks. Only the Chief of Sleat maintained 
silence. MacLeod asked, "Why do you not show 
your dirk, MacDonald?" "Here it is, MacLeod," 
replied Sleat, holding it up in his right hand, "and 
in the best hand for driving it home in the twenty- 
four Islands." MacLeod, thinking his guest would 
be courteous enough to name him at least second, 
asked, "And where is the next best hand for push- 
ing a dirk home in the twenty-four Islands?" 
"Here," cried MacDonald, holding up the dirk in his 
left hand. 

Donald Gorme Mor died, in 1616, without issue, 
and was succeeded by his nephew Donald Gorme Og 
MacDonald of Sleat, who was created a Baronet of 
Nova Scotia, by Charles I, with a special clause of 
precedency placing him second of that order in Scot- 
land. This Baronetcy is now the premier Baronetcy 
of Scotland. He adhered to the cause of Charles I, 
and died in 1643. He had several children by his 
wife, "Fair Janet," second daughter of Lord Mac- 
Kenzie of Kintail. His eldest son, Sir James Mac- 
Donald, second Baronet of Sleat, joined the Marquess 
of Montrose, in 1645, and when Charles II marched 
into England, in 1651, he sent a number of the Clan 
to his assistance. Sir James died in 1678. 

History of the Clan Donald 55 

Sir Donald MacDonald, his successor, was in ill 
health, and led a quiet life until his death in 1695. 
His son and successor, also Sir Donald, known as 
Dhonuill a' Clogaidh, joined the 1715 rising in favor 
of the Stuart cause, but was not present at the great 
Jacobite gathering at Braemar, having proceeded to 
the Isle of Skye to raise his followers. After the 
Battle of Sheriffmuir, the Sleat men returned to the 
Isles, and resisted for some time, but when the gov- 
ernment troops were sent to Skye Sir Donald re- 
tired to North Uist, where he remained until he was 
able to take ship to France. He was forfeited, but 
the forfeiture was soon removed. He died in 1718, 
leaving one son and four daughters. The son. Sir 
Donald, was the next representative of the family, 
but died in 1720, when the title reverted to his uncle. 
Sir James MacDonald of Oronsay. Sir James had 
fought at Killiekrankie, and led the Sleat men at 
Sheriffmuir. His son, Sir Alexander MacDonald, 
was a minor Avhen he succeeded his father. He was 
one of the first persons asked by Prince Charles 
Edward to join him on his landing in 1745. He 
then told the Prince's messenger that he vsdshed well 
to the cause, but as the attempt was inopportune, 
and the Prince had brought no auxiliary force with 
him from abroad, the probability of success was so 
small that he could not support him. That Sir Alex- 
ander's sympathies were with the Prince is shown 
by the fact that he did all possible to protect him 
when in hiding, and encouraged his people to help 
the fugitive to escape capture. Hugh MacDonald 

56 History of the Clan Donald 

of Armadale, Hugh MacDonald of Baleshare, Alex- 
ander MacDonald of Kingsburgh, Lady Margaret 
MacDonald (Sir Alexander's wife), and Flora Mac- 
Donald were all actively employed in effecting the 
escape of the Prince, and during the sad times fol- 
lowing the defeat of the Stuart cause Sir Alexander 
did all he could to lighten the hard lot of their unfor- 
tunate adherents. Yet when he died, in 1746, a 
Jacobite poet lampooned him in the following epi- 

"If heaven be pleased when sinners cease to sin; 
If hell be pleased when sinners enter in ; 
If earth be pleased to lose a truckling knave ; 
Then all are pleased — MacDonald's in his grave." 

His eldest son and heir. Sir James, was only five 
years old at the time of his father's death ; was edu- 
cated at Eton and Oxford; and from his learning 
and great abilities became known as "The Scottish 
Marcellus." He died in Rome, in 1766. His brother 
Alexander succeeded, and by all accounts was not 
popular in the Highlands. Sir Alexander is the 
MacDonald referred to in Boswell's account of John- 
son's visit to Skye ; and the statements contained in 
such account almost led to a duel, which was only 
averted by the ample apology tendered by the Biogra- 
pher to the "English-bred Chieftain." Sir Alexan- 
der was created a Peer of Ireland, in 1776, by the 
style and title of Lord MacDonald of Slate. He 
died in 1795, his descendant being the present Baron 
MacDonald. Later, the Baronetcy and Chiefship 

History of the Clan Donald 57 

of Sleat became separated from the Barony, and 
vested in the family of another descendant known 
as MacDonald of the Isles. 

The family of McDonnell or McDonell of Glen- 
garry take descent from Ranald, the son of Good 
John of Isla, Lord of the Isles, seventh in descent 
from Somerled, by his first wife Amie, the heiress 
of MacRuari. The immediate progenitor of the 
Glengarry family was Ranald's son, Donald, who 
was succeeded by his son, also Donald. The last 
named Donald was followed by his son John, from 
whose son and successor, Alasdair, fourth of Glen- 
garry, the family take the Gaelic patronymic, Mac 
Mhic Alasdair. 

The family name continued as MacDonald until 
the patent of nobility was granted to Aeneas, the 
ninth of Glengarry, who succeeded his grandfather 
in 1645, and was raised to the Scottish peerage, in 
1660, by the title of Lord MacDonell and Aros. This 
is stated to be the origin of the name of MacDonell, 
McDonell or McDonnell, the orthography varying 
according to the usage of different families de- 
scended from the Glengarry branch. 

Glengarry of old formed part of the Lordship 
of Lochaber. King Robert the Bruce, after the vic- 
tory of Bannockburn, granted a charter of many 
lands to Angus Og of the Isles, including half the 
Lordship of Lochaber ; the other half being granted 
to Roderick of Glamoran, and on the forfeiture of 
Roderick, in 1325, the whole of Lochaber came into 
possession of the Lord of the Isles. 

58 History of the Clan Donald 

During the Chiefship of Donald the Eighth of 
Glengarry, a serious feud broke out between him 
and Colin MacKenzie of Kintail. From 1580 to 1603 
incessant feuds were carried on with the usual depre- 
dations and slaughter on both sides. These feuds 
originally arose out of disputes between the two fam- 
ilies regarding Strome Castle, and the other prop- 
erty in Locharron and Locklash, brought to the 
family of Glengarry by the marriage of Alexander, 
the sixth of Glengarry, to Margaret of Lochlash. 
These lands adjoined those of the MacKenzies, and 
led to constant disagreement. The MacKenzies hav- 
ing made aggressions upon Glengarry's land, the 
latter, to maintain his rights, took up his residence 
in Locharron, and placed a small garrison in the 
Castle of Strome. With some of his followers he 
fell into the hands of the MacKenzies, and was de- 
tained in captivity until he agreed to yield the Castle 
of Locharron to the MacKenzies. The other pris- 
oners were put to death. For this the Privy Council 
caused MacKenzie to be detained in Edinburgh, 
and in the Castle of Blackness. In 1602, Glengarry, 
through the craft of the MacKenzie, was, him- 
self, summoned to appear before the Justiciary 
Court at Edinburgh; but paid no attention, and 
went on revenging the slaughter of two of his kins- 
men whom the MacKenzie had killed. In conse- 
quence Kenneth MacKenzie of Kintail procured a 
commission of fire and sword against Glengarry, 
and invaded and laid waste the district of North 
Morar. Glengarry's followers retaliated, and landed 

History of the Clan Donald 59 

on the coast of Lochlash with the intention of burn- 
ing and destroying all MacKenzie's possessions ; but 
their leader, Alasdair MacGorrie, being killed, they 
returned home. To revenge Alasdair's death, Angus 
Og, the young leader of Glengarry, proceeded north 
to Locharron, where he and his followers burned 
many of the houses, and killed the inhabitants ; but 
on their return home they were intercepted by a 
large force of MacKenzies, and Angus Og's galley 
being overset in the fight, the young Chief was slain. 
In 1603, the men of Glengarry, under Allan Dubh 
MacRanuil of Lundy, made an incursion into the 
MacKenzie country, plundered the lands of Cille- 
ehriost, and ferociously set fire to the Church during 
divine service, when full of men, women and chil- 
dren; while the Glengarry pipers marched round 
the building playing the well known pibroch, which 
has been known ever since by the name of "Cille- 
chriost," as the family tune of the McDonnells. 
Eventually, in 1607, Kenneth MacKenzie, afterwards 
Lord Kintail, succeeded in obtaining a Crown Char- 
ter to the disputed lands. Donald, the eighth of 
Glengarry, died in 1603. 

His eldest son, Alexander, known as Alasdair 
Dearg, died in the lifetime of his father, and his 
son, Aeneas, became ninth Chief of Glengarry. He 
was a firm adherent of Charles I, for which he was 
forfeited by Cromwell, but immediately on the 
restoration, Charles II, in 1660, created him for 
his loyalty a Peer of Scotland, under the title of 
Lord MacDonell and Aros. Lord MacDonell died 

60 History of the Clan Donald 

without issue in 1682, when the representation of 
the Glengarry family reverted to Ronald or Regi- 
nald McDonnell of Scothouse, eldest son of Donald, 
the second son of Donald, the eighth of Glengarry. 

The McDonnells of Glengarry, with other branches 
of the Clan Donald, engaged in all the attempts 
made for the restoration of the Stuarts. They joined 
Dundee, in 1689, in Lochaber, and fought at the 
Battle of Killiekrankie, and, on 27th August, 1715, 
Alasdair McDonnell, the eleventh of Glengarry, was 
one of the Chiefs who attended the pretended grand 
hunting match in Baemar, to arrange with the Earl 
of Mar as to raising the standard of the Chevalier 
St. George, styling himself James VIII of Scotland. 
He was at the Battle of Sheriifmuir, 13th November, 
1715, and when the Clan Donald were thrown into 
dismay by the fall of Allan of Moydart, the Captain 
of Clan Ronald, it was Glengarry who, throwing 
his bonnet in the air, rallied them with the cry, in 
Gaelic, "Revenge! Revenge! Revenge today — and 
mourning tomorrow." 

In the rising of 1745, seven hundred of the 
McDonnells of Glengarry joined Prince Charles Ed- 
ward, under the command of McDonnell of Loch- 
garry. Alasdair McDonnell, the Chief's eldest son, 
was chosen by the Highland Chiefs to carry an 
address to the Prince in France, and signed in their 
own blood. He missed the Prince, who in the inter- 
val started for Scotland, was taken prisoner, and 
detained in the Tower of London until after Cul- 
loden. The distinguished part taken by the Glen- 

History of the Clan Donald 61 

garry McDonnells throughout the rising under Bon- 
nie Prince Charlie is well known, and after the final 
defeat at Culloden the unfortunate Prince slept the 
first night at Invergarry Castle, the seat of McDon- 
nell of Glengarry, which was afterwards plundered 
and burnt to the ground by the Duke of Cumber- 
land's troops. After the suppression of the rising, 
the Chief of Glengarry was arrested and committed 
to the Tower of London, where he suffered a long 
and tedious imprisonment. 

The McDonnells of Barrisdale, the McDonnells of 
Greenfield, and the McDonnells of Lundy descended 
from the house of Glengarry. 

The founder of the Clan Ranald branch of Mac- 
Donald was Ranald, the eldest son of Good John of 
Isla, Lord of the Isles, and his wife Amie MacRuari. 
Ranald was eighth in descent from Somerled. He 
was followed by his son, Allan MacDonald of Clan 
Ranald, who fought at the famous Battle of Har- 
law, 1411, where he greatly distinguished himself, 
with his brothers, Donald of Glengarry and Dugald, 
the latter of whom was slain. Allan died in 1419, 
and was succeeded by his eldest son Roderick, known 
as Ruari MacAlain, who married Margaret, daugh- 
ter of the famous Donald Balloch, Chief of Clann 
Iain Mohr, and had issue, Allan his heir, and Hector 
or Eachainn, the progenitor of the branch of Mac- 
Donald known as Clann Eachainn. Roderick died in 
1481, and was succeeded by his son Allan, "the 
mighty-deeded," commonly known as Allan Mac- 

62 History of the Clan Donald 

Allan kept the neighboring clans in a continual 
state of terror. Three of the powerful Highland 
Chiefs were at one time Allan's prisoners in his 
stronghold of Castletirrim, MacLeod of MacLeod, 
MacKay of Strathnaven, and Mackintosh of Mack- 
intosh. The following is told as the origin of his 
disagreement with Mackintosh : On the completion 
of his new castle, on an island in Loch Moy, Mackin- 
tosh gave a house warming, inviting all his friends 
and vassals to a great banquet, at which a wandering 
Irish harper was present. After the usual carous- 
ing. Mackintosh expressed his happiness at being 
now for the first day of his life, free from the dread 
of Allan MacRuari, of whom he then considered 
himself quite independent, and feared neither him 
nor any of the name of MacDonald. The Irish 
harper, in the course of his wanderings, went to 
Castletirrim and told MacDonald the words of 
Mackintosh. This was sufficient for Allan, who, 
summoning the Clan, traveled by night and rested 
by day till he came to Loch Moy. He had carried 
with him several boats made of hides, which he 
launched under cover of night, and stormed Mackin- 
tosh's new Castle. Mackintosh was made prisoner, 
taken to Castletirrim, and held in confinement for 
a year and a day, when Allan set him free with the 
advice, "never to be free from the fear of Mac- 

Allan had evidently inherited that "quick discern- 
ment" ascribed by the ancient chronicler to his 
famous ancestor, Somerled. For, on a certain occa- 
sion when Allan sailed with one galley only to visit 

History of the Clan Donald 63 

his possessions in the Isles, he met a fleet of ten 
galleys of the MacLeans, with which clan also he 
had a feud. Realizing his danger, and the odds of 
ten galleys to his one, Allan ordered his men to 
stretch him out as a corpse on an improvised bier, 
and make every show of mourning. On meeting the 
MacLean galleys his men communicated the melan- 
choly tidings of the death of their Chief, whose body 
they were conveying to his ancestral burying place. 
The news so delighted the MacLeans they allowed 
the single galley to pass unmolested, and went their 
way; but before the MacLean expedition returned, 
Allan had overrun a great part of their land, and 
carried away much loot to Castletirrim. Allan was 
executed in the presence of James IV, in 1509. The 
sentence is supposed to have been for the part he 
took in a raid upon Athole under Donald Dubh. 
He had issue, Eanald, his heir; Alexander, whose 
son John Moydartach afterwards became Captain 
of Clan Ranald ; and by a second marriage, with the 
daughter of Lord Lovat, Ranald Gallda. 

Ranald, his successor, like his father, was tried 
in the presence of the King, and executed at Perth, 
for some unrecorded crime, in 1513. His son, Du- 
gald, for his cruelty and crimes against his own kin, 
became detested by the Clan, and was assassinated, 
his sons being formally excluded from the succes- 
sion. The command of the Clan, with the family 
estates, was given to Alexander, the second son of 
Allan MacRuari, who held the command until his 
death in 1530. 

John MacDonald, Moydartach, seventh of Clan 

64 History of the Clan Donald 

Ranald, on the death of his father, Alexander the 
son of Allan, obtained a charter of his father's lands 
from the Crown, in 1531. Lord Lovat, in support 
of his grandson Ranald Gallda, the son of Allan's 
second marriage, marched to Castletirrim and by 
the assistance of the Frasers, placed Ranald in pos- 
session of the lands. The Clan Ranald met the Fra- 
sers in the Battle of Blar-nan-leine, or the Field of 
Shirts, so called from the fact that as the day was 
unusually hot, both sides prepared for the conflict 
by stripping off their upper garments, and fighting 
in their shirts and kilts. After both sides had dis- 
charged all their- arrows, the struggle was carried 
on hand to hand with the sword, and consisted 
mainly of isolated single combats. The result was 
that all of the Frasers were killed except four, and 
all of the MacDonalds except eight. Lord Lovat, 
his son the Master, and Ranald Gallda were all slain 
in the battle, and John Moydartach left in possession 
of the Chiefship and estates, which he transmitted 
to his descendants. 

The Clan Ranald distinguished themselves under 
the Marquess of Montrose in the Civil War of the 
seventeenth century. At the Battle of Killiekrankie, 
their Chief, then only fourteen years of age, fought 
under Dundee with five hundred of his clan. They 
were also at Sheriffmuir, and took an active part 
in the rising of 1745. At the Battles of Preston 
and Falkirk, the MacDonalds were on the right, 
which they claimed as their due, but at CuUoden 
the Clan Ranald, Glengarry and Keppoch men of 

History of the Clan Donald 65 

Clan Donald formed the left. They urged that the 
post on the right, given the Clan by King Robert 
the Bruce, be conferred on them, but the claim was 
not allowed, to their great displeasure. 

The sept of the MacEachainn MacDonalds is de- 
scended from Hector, or Eachainn, second son of 
Roderick MacDonald, third of Clan Ranald. 
Eachainn obtained lands in Morven. One of the 
attendants of Prince Charles Edward when he 
escaped from Scotland to France, was Neil Mac- 
Eachainn MacDonald. He served in France as a 
Lieutenant in the Scottish Regiment, and was father 
of Stephen James Joseph MacDonald, Marshal of 
France, and Duke of Tarentum. 

The progenitor of the family of MacDonald of 
Glenaladale, known as the Clann Mhic Iain Og, was 
John or Iain Og MacDonald, second son of the 
famous John MacDonald, Moydartach, seventh of 
Clan Ranald. The standard of Bonnie Prince 
Charlie was unfurled on Glenaladale property at 
Glenfinnan, where a monument now stands to indi- 
cate the spot. 

The MacDonalds of Kinlochmoidart descended 
from John, fourth son of Allan, the eighth of Clan 
Ranald. John MacDonald, the first of this family, 
was known as Iain MacAlain, and obtained from 
his father a charter of Kinloch-Moidart and Asker- 
nish, with lands in Uist. 

The ancestor of the MacDonalds of Benbecula was 
Ranald, brother of Donald, who was Captain of 
Clan Ranald in the latter part of the reign of James 

66 History of the Clan Donald 

VI. On the failure of Donald's descendants, the 
family of Benbecula succeeded to the Barony of 
Castletirrim, and the Captainship of Clan Ranald. 

The family of MacDonald of Boisdale, in South 
Uist, is descended from Donald MacDonald of Ben- 
becula, who became the fourteenth of Clan Ranald. 
It was MacDonald of Boisdale that, meeting Prince 
Charles Edward soon after his landing at Eriska, 
advised the Prince to go home. "I am come home," 
replied the Prince. 


I HE founder of the family of Dunnyveg 
and the Glens was John Mor, the Tainis- 
ter or Thane, second son of John, Lord 
of the Isles, by his marriage with the 
Princess Margaret of Scotland. The family became 
known as the Clan Iain Vohr, or Clan Donald South. 
His father bestowed on him land in Isla and Kintyre 
with the Castle of Dunnyveg, and by his marriage 
with Marjory Bisset, heiress of the Glens in Antrim, 
he acquired the heritage of the Glens, from this time 
on being styled of Dunnyveg and the Glens. He 
was murdered, in 1427, by Janaes Campbell, and 
was succeeded by his eldest son, Donald Balloch, 
who in 1431, when the Isles broke out in rebellion, 
took command of the Islanders, and at their head 
burst into Lochaber. The King having vowed ven- 
geance, Donald found refuge in the Antrim Glens, 
though even there he was not free from the Royal 
revenge, and but for the ready resource of an Irish 
, Chief it is hard to say what his fate would have 
been. This Irish Chief presented the Scottish King 
with a human head, and the credulous James be- 
lieved it to be the head of Donald Balloch. He 
appears later to have come under an act of grace 
of the Government, for he died in his native Isles 
in 1476. John, his son and successor, in the revolt 

68 History of the Clan Donald 

of the Clan Iain Vohr, stormed Dunaverty Castle, 
dislodged the King's garrison, and hung the Gov- 
ernor from the wall in sight of the King and his 
fleet. He was apprehended and executed, together 
with his son John, known as Cathanach, and several 
sons of the latter. Two of Cathanach's sons escaped 
to Ireland, Alexander and Angus, the former suc- 
ceeding as head of the house of Dunnyveg. In 1517, 
when Sir Donald of Lochlash, claiming to be Lord 
of the Isles, rebelled against the Government, among 
■the first to support him was Alexander with his 
Clan. After the death of Sir Donald of Lochlash, 
Alexander and his followers were again in insurrec- 
tion, and with the MacLeans raided the lands of 
the Campbells. He, however, later submitted to the 
King, and after successfully defending himself 
against the charges of Argyll, was received in high 
Royal favor, and obtained grants of land from the 
King. Alexander died in 1538. 

His son James, who succeeded as head of the 
family of Dunnyveg and the Glens, was educated at 
the Scottish Court, and entered the service of James 
V. When Donald Dubh raised the standard of re- 
bellion, he, to all appearances, remained neutral, 
although the presence of his brother Angus in Don- 
ald Dubh's camp is an indication of his sympathies. 
When Donald Dubh died, in 1545, the Islanders 
chose James of Dunnyveg as a leader in his place. 
Quarrels with Argyll as to their respective posses- 
sions were adjusted, and the reconciliation completed 
by a marriage between Lady Agnes Campbell and 

History of the Clan Donald 69 

James of Dunnyveg. James and his brothers saw 
much fighting in Ireland when the English attempted 
to expel the Clan Donald from Ulster, his brother 
Sorley Buy MacDonald taking a very prominent 
part. James was mortally wounded in a fight with 
the O'Neills, his brother Sorley Buy captured, and 
another brother, Angus, also made prisoner. James 
was murdered by Shane O'Neill in 1565. He has 
been described as the most powerful Chief the Clan 
had seen since the downfall of the dynasty, and an 
entry in the "Annales of the Four Masters" describes 
him as "a paragon of hospitality and prowess, a 
festive man of many troops, a bountiful and munifi- 
cent man. His peer was not to be found at that 
time among the Clan Donald of Ireland or Scotland." 
His murderer, Shane O'Neill, was later killed by the 
MacDonalds, who sent his head to Dublin, "pickled 
in a pipkin." James' eldest son, Angus, succeeded 
as Lord of Dunnyveg and the Glens. Notwithstand- 
ing the fact that he was married to the sister of 
MacLean of Duart, a feud with the MacLeans re- 
garding the Rhinns of Isla, which had commenced 
in the lifetime of his father, was renewed with much 
bloodshed and distress. This feud is remarkable as 
an example of the ferocity with which such inter- 
clan quarrels were conducted, and, in 1585, the feud 
came to a height under the following circumstances : 
On his way to visit his kinsman, Angus of Dun- 
nyveg, MacDonald of Sleat was driven by stress of 
weather to the Island of Jura, and landed on that 
part of the Island which belonged to MacLean of 

70 History of the Clan Donald 

Duart, the other part being the property of Angus 
MacDonald. Two of the MacDonalds of Clan 
Ranald, who had a grudge against their Chief, one 
of whom was named MacDonald Terreagh, happened 
to arrive on the Island at the same time, and that 
night carried off some of MacLean's cattle, with the 
object that the theft might be imputed to Sleat and 
his party. Under that impression Lachlan Mor Mac- 
Lean assembled his followers, and suddenly attack- 
ing them at night, slew about sixty of them. The 
Chief of Sleat himself only escaped by his having 
spent the night on board his galley. After Sleat's 
return to Skye, whither he proceeded vowing ven- 
geance against the MacLeans, he was visited by 
Angus MacDonald, for the purpose of concerting 
measures of retaliation. On his homeward voyage 
to Kintyre, Angus landed in the Isle of Mull, and, 
against the advice of his followers, went to visit 
his brother-in-law. Sir Lachlan MacLean, at his 
Castle at Duart, in the hope of affecting an amicable 
arrangement of all their disputes. His two brothers, 
Ranald and Coll, who were with him, refused to 
accompany him, fearing treachery, and their fears 
were realized; for although well received at first 
by MacLean, Angus and all his party were the fol- 
lowing day arrested by Lachlan Mor and thrown 
into prison. The only one who escaped was Regi- 
nald MacDonald, a cousin of Angus. To preserve 
his life and recover his freedom, Angus agreed to 
renounce his right to the disputed lands in the 
Rhinns of Isla, and for the performance of this 

History of the Clan Donald 71 

engagement he was obliged to give his eldest son, 
James, a young boy, and his brother, Reginald, as 
hostages. A short time afterwards Lachlan Mor 
sailed to Isla to get the agreement fulfilled, taking 
with him James MacDonald, the young hostage, 
leaving the other in fetters in the Castle of Duart. 
On his arrival he encamped at the ruinous fort, or 
Eilan Gorm, on the Rhinns. Angus MacDonald was 
then residing at Mullintrea, to which place he in- 
vited MacLean, who declined the invitation. Angus, 
however, pressed his invitation, with the strongest 
assurances of safety and good treatment, and Lach- 
lan Mor, thrown off his guard, at length complied. 
With eighty-six of his followers he went to Mullin- 
trea, in the month of July, 1586, and on his arrival 
was sumptuously entertained the whole day. The 
night, however, was signalized by different treat- 
ment. At the usual hour for retiring to repose, 
MacLean and his people were lodged in a long house 
which stood by itself at some distance from the other 
houses. During the whole day MacLean had always 
kept James, the young heir of Dunnyveg, within his 
reach, as a sort of protection to him in case of an 
attack, and at going to bed he took him along with 
him. About an hour after MacLean and his people 
had retired, Angus assembled his men to the number 
of about four hundred, and made them surround 
the house in which MacLean and his company lay. 
Then himself going to the door, he called upon Mac- 
Lean, and told him he had come to give him his 
reposing drink, which he had forgotten to order be- 

72 History of the Clan Donald 

fore going to bed. MacLean answered that he did 
not wish to drink at that time, but MacDonald 
insisted that he should arise, it being, he said, his 
will that he should do so. The peremptory tone of 
MacDonald made MacLean at once apprehensive of 
danger, and getting up and placing the boy, James, 
between his shoulders, as a sort of shield, he pre- 
pared to defend his life, or to sell it as dearly as 
possible. As soon as the door was forced open, 
James MacDonald, seeing his father with a naked 
sword in his hand, and a number of his men armed 
in the same manner, cried aloud for mercy to Mac- 
Lean, his uncle, which being granted, Lachlan Mor 
was immediately removed to a secret chamber, 
where he remained till next morning. After Mac- 
Lean had surrendered, Angus MacDonald announced 
to those within the house that if they would come 
out their lives would be spared; but he excepted 
MacDonald Terreagh and another. The whole, with 
the exception of these two, having complied, the 
house was immediately set on fire, and consumed 
along with MacDonald Terreagh and his companion, 
the latter a near kinsman of MacLean. 

The tragedy did not, however, end here. Allan 
MacLean, a near kinsman of Lachlan Mor, in the 
hope that the MacDonalds would put him to death, 
in which event Allan would have succeeded to the 
management of the estate, as guardian to Lachlan's 
children, who were then very young, caused a report 
to be spread that the hostage left behind at Duart 
Castle had been killed by the MacLeans. Under 

History of the Clan Donald 73 

the impression that it was true, Coll, the brother 
of the hostage and of Angus MacDonald, took a 
signal vengeance on the unfortunate prisoners in his 
hands, two of whom were executed every day, until 
at last Lachlan Mor alone survived. His life was 
saved on account of an accident that happened to 
Angus MacDonald, as he was mounting his horse 
to witness Lachlan's execution. Information of the 
feud being sent to King James VI, he immediately 
dispatched a herald demanding that Lachlan should 
be set at liberty ; but the herald was unable to pro- 
cure shipping for Isla. MacDonald at length re- 
leased him, on his delivering into the hands of Angus 
his eldest son Hector MacLean and seven other 
hostages. Soon after Angus went on a visit to Ire- 
land, when MacLean, dreaming only of vengeance, 
hurried to Isla and laid waste a great portion of that 

When Angus returned from Ireland he invaded 
the Isles of Mull and Tiree, and "killed and chased 
the Clan Lean at his pleasure, and so revenged him- 
self fully of the injuries done to him and his tribe." 
MacLean retaliated by an inroad into Kintyre, and 
so they continued to "vex one another with slaugh- 
ter and outrages." 

Lachlan MacLean obtained the return of his son 
and the other hostages under the following circum- 
stances: John Maclain, of the Clan Donald, had 
been a suitor for the hand of Lachlan's mother, the 
daughter of the Earl of Argyll, and was, in 1588, 
invited to Mull, with a view of the proposed alii- 

74 History of the Clan Donald 

ance; and to gain him over to the MacLean side. 
Maclain accepted the invitation, but no persuasion 
could induce him to join against his own clan, the 
MacDonalds. Furious at his refusal, Lachlan, on 
the marriage night, caused eighteen of Mac Iain's 
attendants to be massacred ; then, bursting into the 
bed-chamber, w^ould have murdered Maclain had not 
his new-made wife interposed. He was, however, 
held prisoner for a year, when he and other pris- 
oners were exchanged for MacLean's son and the 
other hostages. 

In June, 1594, as MacDonald of Dunnyveg and 
MacLean of Duart, continued contumacious, they 
were forfeited by Parliament. James, the son of 
Angus of Dunnyveg, was held in Edinburgh as a 
hostage for his father, who, deprived of all support, 
was compelled to yield to the King. James was soon 
afterwards knighted, but Angus failed to fulfil the 
conditions entered into, and both he and his son, Sir 
James, suffered imprisonment. Their lands were 
taken possession of by the Campbells, much of the 
property of the ducal house of Argyll consisting of 
what had formerly belonged to the house of Dunny- 
veg. Angus died before 1613, and Sir James died in 
1626, without issue. 

The MacDonalds of Colonsay were a branch of the 
house of Dunnyveg and the Glens, being descended 
from Coll, a brother of James MacDonald of Dun- 
nyveg, and of Sorley Buy MacDonald. 

An important place in the history of the Clan 
Donald is occupied by the MacDonalds of Garragh 

History of the Clan Donald 75 

and Keppoch, called the Clan Ranald of Lochaber. 
They descended from Alexander MacDonald, or 
Alastair Carrach, third son of Good John of Isla, 
Lord of the Isles, and his wife the Princess Mar- 
garet. His father bestowed upon him the Lordship 
of Lochaber. For his share in the insurrection of 
the Islanders under Donald Balloch, he was forfeited 
and the greater part of his lands were bestowed 
upon Duncan Mackintosh, Captain of the Clan Chat- 
tan, which proved the cause of a fierce and lasting 
feud between the Mackintoshes and the MacDonalds. 
The MacDonalds of Keppoch, however, held their 
own in the braes of Lochaber, where they continued 
to dwell, and which they defended against all comers. 
In 1498, Donald, the then Chief of Keppoch, was 
killed at Leachada, in Glenurchy, fighting against the 
Stewarts of Appin. His successor, Iain Aluinn, gave 
great offense to his people by acknowledging the 
authority of the Mackintoshes in Lochaber, and by 
surrendering to their Chief, a well known thief, 
Donuill Ruadh Beag, making a condition that "his 
blood should not be spilled." A condition which 
Mackintosh considered he had fulfilled when he 
promptly hanged Donuill. The Keppoch MacDon- 
alds met and deposed Iain, and Alexander, or Ala- 
stair Gleann, was chosen in his place. 

The Keppoch men fought with the other branches 
of the Clan Donald in the centre of Montrose's army, 
and followed him through all his campaign, until 
they were obliged to return with the rest of the 
Highlanders to protect their homes from the Cov- 

76 History of the Clan Donald 

enanters. All through the Civil War the Keppoch 
men were very active on the side of the King. Soon 
after the Restoration, Alexander MacDonald Glas, 
the young Chief of Keppoch, and his brother, were 
murdered on the occasion of a banquet given in the 
old Castle of Keppoch. During the banquet the 
clansmen, discussing some topic, came from high 
words to blows, and the young Chief and his brother 
were killed in the melee. Coll MacDonald was the 
next Chief of Keppoch. He was known as "Coll 
of the Cows," and the feud between his Clan and 
the Mackintoshes led to the last clan battle ever 
fought in the Highlands. The Mackintoshes, esti- 
mated at 1,200 men, entered Lochaber in the July 
of 1688, and took possession of the Castle of Kep- 
poch, from which Coll had barely time to escape. 
Coll retired to the hills, and sent round the fiery 
cross. Having gathered a force estimated at 700 
men, he met the Mackintoshes on the Hill of Mulroy, 
where after a sharp fight the MacDonalds were the 
victors, and the Mackintoshes fled, leaving a number 
of killed and wounded. A commission of fire and 
sword was issued by the Government against Coll, 
who, after defeating the Mackintoshes, advanced on 
Inverness, in revenge for the support the inhab- 
itants of that town had given the Mackintoshes. 
Lord Dundee acted as mediator, and agreed to pay 
Coll compensation for the damage done by the 
Mackintoshes ; and Coll drove away the cattle of his 
enemy, hence "Coll of the Cows." He fought at the 
Battle of Killiekrankie, and on the breaking out of 

History of the Clan Donald 77 

the rising of 1715 he joined the Earl of Mar, and 
fought at Sheriffmuir, where the Keppoch men and 
the other clansmen of the Clan Donald formed the 
right wing of Mar's army. 

Coil's son, Alexander MacDonald of Keppoch, took 
a romantic part in the rising of 1745. He and one 
of the Stewarts of Appin had, in 1743, been sent by 
the Jacobite Chieftains to the French Court, to lay 
before Prince Charles Edward the proposal of his 
Scottish followers. When the Prince landed at 
Eriska, in 1745, Keppoch immediately joined him, 
and raised his Clan. On the 16th of August, two 
companies of the Government troops, under the com- 
mand of a Captain Scott, were met at Highbridge 
by Donald MacDonald, Keppoch's brother, who, with 
a small force, had been sent to intercept them. Re- 
inforced by more Keppoch men, Donald engaged the 
Government troops, who surrendered and were 
taken prisoner. In this way the Keppoch MacDon- 
alds had the honor of striking the first blow for 
Bonnie Prince Charlie. Keppoch, with 300 clans- 
men, joined the Stuart forces when the standard of 
the Prince was raised at Glenfinnan, and fought 
magnificently with the MacDonald regiments in the 
place of honor at Prestonpans, Clifton, Falkirk, and 
throughout all the campaign. At Culloden, as is 
well known, the MacDonalds were greatly offended 
at being placed on the left of the Prince's army, 
and being deprived of the place of honor on the 
right which they claimed as a heritage from Ban- 
nockburn. As they stood sullenly nursing their 

78 History of the Clan Donald ' "" 

pride and facing the foe, the gallant Keppoch, see- 
ing his Clan hesitate, rushed forward alone with 
drawn sword, and died, as he had lived, a chivalrous 
Highland gentleman. 

The MacDonalds of Glencoe are descended from 
John, knoviTi as Iain Fraoch, natural son of Angus 
Og, Lord of the Isles. John settled in the wild and 
gloomy Vale of Glencoe, in the district of Lorn. 

"The Vale, by eagle-haunted cliffs o'erhung. 
Where Fingal fought and Ossian's harp was strung." 

In 1689 the then Chief of Glencoe, Alexander 
MacDonald, was one of the Chieftains who sup- 
ported the cause of King James, and at the head of 
his Clan followed "the bonnets of Bonny Dundee." 
Glencoe fought at the Battle of Killiekrankie, and 
in consequence of his share in the campaign passed 
under a decree of forfeiture in 1690, circumstances 
gradually leading up to the terrible episode known 
in history as the Massacre of Glencoe. 

In August, 1691, the Government required that 
all the Clans who had been in arms in favor of King 
James should take the oath of allegiance to King 
William and Queen Mary, before the last day of 
December. Alexander MacDonald of Glencoe had 
postponed taking the required oath until the stipu- 
lated time had nearly elapsed, and when he set out 
for the purpose of complying with the order, he 
was detained by the snowdrifts in the passes. As 
soon as he could get through the country, he went 

History of the Clan Donald 79 

to the commander at Fort William to take the oath. 
The commander not being empowered to administer 
the oath, sent him with a letter to Sir Colin Camp- 
bell of Ardkinglass, Sheriff-depute of Argyll. The 
weather was so severe that the Sheriff was detained 
three days before he could meet Glencoe at Inverary. 
The time had elapsed, but on the earnest solicita- 
tion of the old Chieftain, and explanation of the 
cause of the delay, Ardkinglass administered the 
oath on January 6th. Suspecting no treachery, and 
persuaded he had secured the safety of his Clan, 
Glencoe returned to the Vale. Meanwhile the Earl 
of Breadalbane had gone to London; Dalrymple, 
Master of Stair, then Secretary for Scotland, had 
been arranging a plan for extirpating the MacDon- 
alds ; and the following proclamation was drawn up 
and signed by King William : "It will be proper for 
the vindication of publick justice to extirpate that 
sett of thieves. W. R." 

Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, with 120 
men of Argyll's regiment, was ordered to Glencoe on 
the 1st of February. Captain Campbell was uncle 
to young MacDonald's wife, and he and his party 
were hospitably received in the Vale ; Glenlyon assur- 
ing the MacDonalds that the object of the visit was 
friendly. During twelve full days Campbell and his 
men spent the time in merriment, receiving the most 
generous treatment that their appointed victims 
could afford. On the 12th of February the order 
was sent to Campbell to fall upon the MacDonalds 
precisely at five o'clock the following morning, and 

80 History of the Clan Donald 

put all to the sword under seventy years of age. 
With this dastardly order in his pocket, Campbell 
spent the evening before the massacre at cards with 
John and Alexander MacDonald, the sons of the 
Chief. At parting, he wished them good-night, and 
even accepted an invitation from the Chief to dine 
with him the following day. The massacre com- 
menced at five o'clock in the morning of the 13th 
February, 1692. Glenlyon undertook to butcher his 
own host and the inhabitants of his house, and his 
host, with nine others, were dragged from their 
beds, tied hand and foot, and slain in cold blood. 
A boy, twelve years of age, clung round Glenlyon's 
feet and begged for mercy ; but Captain Drummond 
shot the child dead. The old Chief of Glencoe was 
roused by a knocking at his door and as he was 
rising to receive his supposed guest was shot dead 
behind his back. He fell in the arms of his wife, 
who died next day in a state of distraction, and it 
has been asserted that the butchers tore the rings 
from her fingers with their teeth. The slaughter 
became general; neither age nor infirmity was 
spared ; women defending their children were killed. 
Thirty-eight, including the old Chief and his two 
sons, were shot down. How many of the fugitives 
perished among the snow-clad hills will never be 

The MacDonalds of Glencoe fought at Sheriffmuir, 
and, in 1745, joined Prince Charles Edward with 
130 men, fighting through all his campaigns up to 
the final defeat of the Stuart cause at Culloden. 

History of the Clan Donald 81 

From Roderick of Bute, a younger brother of 
Donald of Isla from whom the Clan Donald take 
their name, sprang the branch of the family known 
as MacRuari of Garmoran. Roderick, second son 
of Reginald, Lord of the Isles and eldest son of Som- 
erled, was born in the latter part of the twelfth cen- 
tury, and upon him his father bestowed the Island 
of Bute and lands in Kintyre. Of piratical tenden- 
cies, he was a wild and daring man even for the age 
in which he lived. He and his sons supported King 
Haco of Norway, invaded Ireland, and conquered 
the Isle of Man, but on the annexation of the Nor- 
wegian possessions in the Isles to Scotland, in 1266, 
both Bute and Arran were restored to the family. 
Roderick died shortly after 1266, and was followed 
by his son, Dougal, known as Dougal MacRuari, 
who is designated by the seannachies. King Dougal, 
and is said to have been succeeded in the lands of 
Garmoran by his son Allan, who died about 1284 
and was succeeded in his lands by a daughter, Chris- 
tina, although he left at least three sons, Roderick, 
Allan and Lachlan. Christina resigned the Mac- 
Ruari patrimony to Roderick, to whom Bruce also 
granted a charter. Roderick and his brothers in- 
vaded Skye and Lewis, the lands of the Earl of Ross, 
and had finally to be held in check by their kinsman, 
the Lord of the Isles, who pursued Roderick by sea 
and land, and at length seized him, put him in irons, 
and imprisoned him in a dungeon. Christina, the 
heiress of Allan, married Donald, Earl of Mar, and 
thus became the mother of the vdfe of King Robert 

82 History of the Clan Donald 

the Bruce, and progenetrix of the long line of Scot- 
tish Kings. Roderick was succeeded by his son, 
Ranald, who received a charter from Robert the 
Bruce to lands in Uist, Barra, Rum, Moydart and 
Morar. He was assassinated by the Earl of Mar 
in the Monastery of Elcho. He left no issue, and 
his brother and successor, Allan, also dying without 
issue, the male line of Roderick of Bute became ex- 
tinct, the family inheritance devolving on Amie, the 
sister of Allan, who carried the MacRuari lands to 
her husband, Good John of Isla, Lord of the Isles. 

The Clan Allister was one of the oldest families 
that branched from the Clan Donald stem, and de- 
scended from Alastair Mor, son of Donald de He, and 
younger brother of Angus Mor, who succeeded as 
Lord of the Isles, in 1249. Alastair Mor was killed 
in a feud with the MacDougalls in 1299. This 
branch of the Clan Donald settled in South Knap- 
dale, the principal seat of their Chief being for- 
merly at Ard-Phadriuc, on the south side of Loch 
Tarbet; latterly they resided at Loup, from which 
they received their usual designation. 

The Clan Donald of Ulster sprang from Alexan- 
der of Isla, known as Alastair Og, who succeeded 
his father, Angus Mor, as Lord of the Isles, in 1292. 
Alastair had supported Edward I of England, and 
opposed Robert Bruce, from whose vengeance he 
suffered when the Bruce became Monarch of Scot- 
land. He was imprisoned in Dundonald Castle, 
where he died, and his possessions were given to 
his brother Angus Og. Alastair left six sons, Black 

History of the Clan Donald 83 

John, Reginald, Somerled, Angus, Godfrey and 
Charles. These sons inherited the legacy of ven- 
geance, being driven from their native soil to seek 
refuge in another land. They are next found in 
Ireland, settling in various parts of that country, 
where they became Captains of Galloglachs, or com- 
panies of foot-soldiers chosen for their superior size 
and strength. The name Galloglachs was given 
these soldiers of fortune because of their foreign 
birth, mostly from Scotland. Black John, the son 
of Alastair, became Hereditary Constable of the 
O'Neills of Ulster, and had his seat at Cnoc-na- 
Cluith, or Hill of Sport, in the Barony of Dungannon 
and County of Tyrone. He was killed, in 1349, by 
Manus, son of Eochy MacMahon, Lord of Oriel. 
Black John was succeeded by Somerled, who is 
referred to as High Constable of Ulster. Notwith- 
standing the slaying of his father, Somerled was 
persuaded by the MacMahons to repudiate his wife 
and enter into a matrimonial alliance with a daugh- 
ter of Brian MacMahon. He fell a victim to the 
treachery of his supposed friend and father-in-law, 
who invited Somerled to a feast at which the drink- 
ing was deep and long in the hall of Oriel. During 
the festivities Brian threw his arms round Somerled, 
and caused him to be bound and cast into a nearby 
lake, where he was drowned. This occurred in 1365, 
and the O'Neills joined forces with the numerous 
kinsmen of the murdered Chief, routing MacMahon, 
who was banished, and his wife and daughters made 

84 History of the Clan Donald 

Somerled's son, John, was slain in an encounter 
with Teige O'Connor, and, in 1366, Charles, the 
youngest son of Alastair Og, was the leader of the 
Galloglachs. In 1368, the feud created by the mur- 
der of Somerled again broke out, and Neill O'Neill, 
King of Uladh, whose Constable Somerled had been, 
marched at the head of an army to attack MacMa- 
hon, Alastair, the son of Charles, accompanying him 
as Constable of the Galloglachs. A fierce battle en- 
sued in which Alastair was slain. No further record 
is found of the family until well on in the fifteenth 
century, when it is told that the MacDonald Captain 
of the Galloglachs was killed in a battle with the 
English. Again, in 1493, they were engaged in their 
usual game of war, and in a battle fought that year 
Ranald MacDonald, the Constable, and his three sons 
fell. After another fatal fight in which MacDonald 
Galloglach, son of John, was killed, the rare instance 
of a MacDonald Constable dying a natural death is 
recorded, when Randall Mor, son of Gillespie Mac- 
Donald, died in 1503, in Duibhthrian. The next 
record, however, is again of the usual killing of a 
MacDonald Constable, Colla, who was slain at Ar- 
magh. In 1522, a war broke out between the O'Neills 
of the North and the O'Donnells of Donegal, which 
lasted for years. Donald Og MacDonald was then 
Captain of the O'Neill Galloglachs, but the O'Neills 
were defeated with a loss of nine hundred followers, 
among them, naturally, Donald and a number of his 

Later, a disagreement arose between the O'Neills 

History of the Clan Donald 85 

and the MacDonalds, and through this quarrel the 
MacDonalds were compelled to relinquish the lands 
of Cnoc-na-Cluith, which they had held for two hun- 
dred years, and take up their abode in another re- 
gion. The breach between the two families was, 
however, eventually healed, and the MacDonalds re- 
turned to their old allegiance, and the land with 
which they were so long connected. In 1551, the 
MacDonalds and the O'Neills are found together 
fighting the English, but soon after, the Clan Donald 
of Ulster became scattered, settling in other locali- 
ties, and are no more mentioned as Hereditary Con- 
stables of the O'Neills. 

The founder of the noble family of McDpnnell of 
Antrim was Sorley Buy MacDonald, the sixth son 
of Alexander, or Alastair Maclain Cathanach, of 
Dunnyveg and the Glens. Alexander fled to Ireland 
after the execution of his father in 1494, and the 
early part of the life of Sorley Buy was spent in 
the struggles of the family in Ulster. In 1550, he 
was taken prisoner by the English authorities, but 
released after a short imprisonment. In 1552, he 
summoned his followers, invaded Carrickfergus, and 
defeated the English garrison with great slaughter. 
Sorley Buy was, in 1558, appointed by his eldest 
brother Lord of the Route, in the County of An- 
trim, and on his brother's death he seized the Irish 
estates of the family. He was engaged in numerous 
conflicts with the native Irish and the English forces, 
but finally became a faithful subject of Queen Eliza- 
beth, and was made a free denizen of Ireland on 

86 History of the Clan Donald 

the 14th April, 1573. His stormy career ended, the 
old Chief spent his remaining years at his favorite 
seat of Donanynie Castle, where he died in 1589, 
and was buried in the Abbey of Bunamargie. He 
was married to Mary, daughter of Con O'Neill, Earl 
of Tyrone, and had four sons. James, his eldest 
son, and successor, made the old fortress of Dunluce, 
of which he was Constable, his principal place of 
residence, and was styled of Dunluce. After visit- 
ing the Scottish Court, where he was knighted by 
King James, Sir James died in 1601, when a dispute 
arose between his brothers Angus and Ranald as to 
the succession. Ranald was then in Scotland, but 
lost no time in returning to Ireland, where he found 
a considerable number of the family ready to sup- 
port him against Angus. Before taking any active 
step, he sent a message to Angus desiring a private 
interview, but Angus declined. An ancient MS gives 
the following account of the settlement of the dis- 
pute : "However, God was pleased not to let them 
engage, for that very day came St. Patrick's Clerk, 
who was called O'Dornan, and St. Patrick's bell in 
his hand. He entered the camp ringing the bell, 
and they were all amazed to see O'Dornan coming, 
for his duty was to curse. Ranald and all his camp 
made obeisance to St. Patrick's Clerk, and Ranald 
said, "What is the matter, holy Clerk?" O'Dornan 
answered, "I am much concerned for you and your 
foolish prodigal brother Angus." Ranald said, 
"That is none of my fault." "I am well pleased with 
you," O'Dornan said, "In the name of the Father, 

History of the Clan Donald 87 

the Son and the Holy Ghost, and my Holy Patron, 
St. Patrick, I proclaim you Lord and Master of the 
Baronies of Dunluce and Kilconway." St. Patrick's 
Clerk then went to meet Angus and his army. He 
takes his bell and rings it very hard. Angus cries, 
"What is all this ringing for?" "It is I," said 
O'Dornan, "to curse you and your army for your un- 
lawful insurrection against your brother Ranald." 
"Pray, holy Clerk, bless me and I will go and ask 
my brother's pardon." Angus sent back his people, 
came to meet his brother at Loughgill, and they 
kissed and embraced each other." King James 
knighted Ranald, and, in 1618, raised him to the dig- 
nity of a Peer of Ireland, by the style and title of 
Viscount Dunluce, further advancing him to the 
higher dignity of Earl of Antrim, on the 12th De- 
cember, 1620. The Earl died at Dunluce on the 
10th December, 1636, and from him descended the 
present family of Antrim. 

The Clan Donald of Connaught descended from 
Somerled, the son of Alastair Og, and occupied the 
same position with the O'Connors in Connaught as 
the Clan Donald of Ulster did with the O'Neills. 
The O'Connors, like the O'Neills, were independent 
Kings in their district, and it is probable that Som- 
erled was Constable of the O'Connor Galloglachs. 
Four of his sons successively held that office, all four 
meeting their death on the field of battle. Somerled 
was succeeded by his son Donald, who was killed at 
the Battle of Traigh Eathuill-int-sair, in 1367, and 
was followed by his brother Somerled, who fell in 

88 History of the Clan Donald 

battle in 1377. Donald Og, another brother, was 
the next Constable, and met the usual fate, when 
the command fell to Marcus, the fourth son of Som- 
erled, who held it for nine years, until he and his 
son Dougal were left dead, with a large number of 
Galloglachs, after a fierce and sanguinary fight. The 
fatal weird persistently followed this heroic race 
until the Irish Celtic system came to an end in the 
seventeenth century. The Clan Donald of Leinster 
are an offshoot of the same tribe. 

Another noble family, now extinct, esteemed a 
branch of the Clan Donald, was the family of the 
Earls of Stirling. They were descended from Alex- 
ander MacDonald, who obtained the lands of Men- 
strie, in the County of Clackmannan, and whose pos- 
terity assumed the surname of Alexander, from his 
given name. His descendant. Sir William Alexander, 
was created Earl of Stirling in 1633. 


EFORE the close of the century which 
saw the last MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, 
adventurers from the old world had set 
out to establish Colonies, and open up 
the wonders of the new land across the Western 
Ocean. In 1577, Sir Humphrey Gilbert was granted 
a patent of Colonization for Virginia, where, in 
1607, a small body of colonists formed the settle- 
ment at Jamestown, and other points on the James 
River, which later became the Province of Virginia. 
The founding of the Plymouth Colony followed the 
historic voyage of the "Mayflower," in 1620, and 
within sixty years after the first settlement on the 
James River, the Colonies of Virginia and Maryland 
were established in the South; Plymouth, Massa- 
chusetts Bay, Connecticut and Rhode Island, in New 
England; with the Dutch Colony of New Nether- 
lands on the Hudson, between the two groups of 
English settlements. 

During the seventeenth century the current of 
migration from Scotland was slow, for condi- 
tions were not yet such as to cause the hardy Scots 
to leave the hills and glens to which they were at- 
tached by so many romantic and domestic ties. At 
the end of the century, however, economic condi- 
tions, both in Scotland and the North of Ireland, 

90 History of the Clan Donald 

where many Scots had located, caused a great and 
valuable influx to the Colonies of Highlanders and 
Lowlanders from Scotland direct, and of Scottish Ul- 
stermen from the north of Ireland. And when the abo- 
lition of the patriarchal system, in 1748, dissolved the 
ties of clanship, and compelled the Chiefs to maintain 
their rank by new means, the Highland proprietors 
were unable to support upon their estates a number 
of men whom they no longer could use in military 
service. The Highland Chiefs also found that their 
extensive pastures, so long the rearing ground of 
black cattle only, could with much better advantage 
be engaged in the feeding of sheep, and the sheep 
farmers of the Lowlands made offers of rents, 
against which the Highlanders were unable to com- 
pete. Military duty and clan services were no longer 
acceptable in lieu of money rent, and many of the 
Highlanders, unsuited for their altered circum- 
stances, resolved to test the truth of the old adage 
that "they who hae a gude Scottish tongue in their 
head are fit to gang ower the world," said farewell 
to their native hills and sought fame and fortune 
in the new land. As the Scottish poet, Thomas 
Pringle, sang : 

"We seek a wild and distant shore 

Beyond the western main; 
We leave thee to return no more, 

Nor view thy cliffs again ! 
But may dishonor blight our fame. 

And blast our household fires, -- 

History of the Clan Donald 91 

If we or ours forget thy name 
Green Island of our sires!" 

A member of the Clan who arrived at an early- 
date in the new Colonies was Bryan MacDonald or 
McDonald, of the Glencoe branch of the family. He 
came to America about 1685, settling in Newcastle 
County, Pennsylvania, now Delaware, on Mill Creek. 
Here, in 1689, he acquired "a certain parcel of land 
in the County of Newcastle," which land was about 
six miles west from Wilmington, Delaware, in Mill 
Creek Hundred. He died in 1707, leaving seven 
children who are named in his vdll. The family 
later moved from Delaware into Virginia, on the 
Roanoke and James Rivers. His son, Bryan, died 
in Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1757, and from 
him are descended a large family of MacDonalds or 
McDonalds. About the year 1785, Richard and 
Alexander McDonald, twin brothers left Botetourt 
County and settled where the village of Macksville, 
Washington County, Kentucky, now stands. Rich- 
ard rose to the rank of Major in the Indians wars, 
and his son, James, served four years as Senator 
from Kentucky. 

Two other early arrivals were Donald and John 
MacDonald, who are mentioned in the list of persons 
from Scotland who were brought to New Jersey in 
the ship "Thomas and Benjamin," in 1684. 

Other New Jesrey records show that William 
McDonald was, in 1759, appointed Captain in the 
New Jersey Regiment which was raised to join in 

92 History of the Clan Donald 

the final campaign to conquer the French forces in 
America. Captain McDonald was probably the same 
as the captain of that name who gallantly led the 
attack on Fort Du Quesne, in September, 1758. He 
was reported killed in the spring of 1760. Another 
William McDonald was Sheriff of Somerset County, 
New Jersey, in 1761. 

Among the McDonnells of Glengarry who fought 
for Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745, was Angus Mc- 
Donnell. He was born in the Highlands in 1724, 
the son of Angus MacDonald or McDonnell of Glen- 
garry. Like many of. the Clan, he was attainted of 
treason after the Battle of Culloden, but escaped to 
America, and arrived in Virginia in 1746. He 
landed at Falmouth in that Colony, later moving 
into the interior where he entered the service of 
the Colony, and rose to the rank of Captain. In rec- 
ognition of his services he received a grant of four 
hundred acres of land, in 1754, and also purchased a 
tract of land to the east of Winchester, where he 
built his home, which he named Glengarry, after his 
old home in the Highlands. In 1765 he was commis- 
sioned Major of Militia, being promoted to Lieuten- 
ant Colonel in 1774, and, in 1775 was made Sheriff. 
Washington appointed him Lieutenant Colonel in 
the Continental Army, in 1777, but McDonnell was 
unable to accept the commission, and died in 1778, 
leaving seven children. His family continued to 
live at Glengarry until the house was destroyed by 
fire, when they moved to Patterson Creek in Hamp- 
shire County. 

History of the Clan Donald 93 

A number of grants of land in New York State 
were made to members of the Clan, who arrived 
from Scotland about the middle of the eighteenth 
century, doubtless emigrating in consequence of the 
before mentioned changed conditions in the old 
country. In 1764 is found an Order of His Majesty 
in Council to survey for Lieutenant James McDonald, 
10,000 acres of land in the Province of New York, 
which McDonald requested should be in Ulster 
County, near Shawangunk Kill; and in the same 
year Donald McDonald and John McDonald peti- 
tioned for grants of land at Albany. Also in 1764, 
Captain Alexander MacDonald petitioned for a grant 
of 3,000 acres of land on the east side of the Hudson 
River, in the County of Albany, the petition being 
accompanied by a certificate of General Gage that 
the Captain had served during the war. Among 
other grants of land at this time to members of the 
family, were those to Norman and Alexander Mc- 
Donald of land at Otter Creek, in the County of 
Albany, in 1765; to Angus McDonald of 200 acres 
on the east side of the Kinderhook River, also in 
1765; to Neil McDonald, in 1767; and, in 1771, 
Edward and John McDonald petitioned for a grant 
of 6,000 acres of land in the County of Albany, on 
the east side of the Hudson River. 

The formation of quite a little colony by a member 
of the family, is shown by the petitions of Alexander 
MacDonald, or McDonald, who, in 1773, on behalf of 
himself and twenty-three others, asked, in his first 
petition, for a grant of a tract containing 24,000 

94 History of the Clan Donald 

acres of land in New York State, "in Totten and 
Cross fields purchase," and that the same may be 
erected into a township by the name of Ardnam- 
wichan. In the same year, he presented a second 
petition asking for a further grant of 30,360 acres 
in the same locality. 

John and William McDonald were the sons of 
Thomas McDonald of Lochshin, in the Highlands 
of Scotland. John came to America in 1770, and 
William followed in 1772. John married in America, 
and had a numerous family of children, some of 
whom settled in Ohio, their descendants later re- 
moving to Illinois. William settled in Pennsylvania, 
where his son, afterwards Colonel John McDonald, 
was born in 1775, in Northumberland County. In 
1780, the family crossed the mountains to Mingo 
Bottom on the Ohio, then the frontier of civilization, 
and the scene of continual Indian attacks. The fam- 
ily again moved, in 1790, this time to Kentucky and 
here young John had his first experience of Indian 
fighting, and was constantly employed in hunting 
and scouting. In the spring of 1792, John joined 
General Massie's settlement at Manchester, on the 
Ohio River, finding more Indian fighting, and, in 
1794, with his brother Thomas, accompanied Gen- 
eral Wayne's Army as ranger. Two years later he 
again joined General Massie, assisting in the estab- 
lishment of the first settlements on the Scioto River, 
and in laying out and surveying Chillicothe, the 
first capital of Ohio. In 1802, John McDonald set- 
tled at Poplar Ridge, Ohio, and served in the War 

History of the Clan Donald 95 

of 1812, rising to the rank of Colonel. He also acted 
as Paymaster and Quartermaster General. Sen- 
ator Joseph E. McDonald was his youngest child. 

At a General Assembly for the Colony of Rhode 
Island and Providence Plantation, held at Newport 
the first Wednesday of May, 1756, Barak M'Donald 
of Providence was made a freeman of the Colony; 
and among other records, we find Archibald, James 
and John McDonald listed as inhabitants of Chester 
County, Pennsylvania, in 1765, and Patrick McDon- 
ald as a landowner in North Carolina, in 1750. 

The issue of the war between the English and 
French settlements in America, 1754-1763, roused 
the interests of the British Government in the pos- 
sibilities of its American Colonies. The Govern- 
ment endeavored to recover from the Colonies part 
of the cost of the French War, by which their exist- 
ence had been secured, but "taxation without repre- 
sentation" was bitterly resented, and in December, 
1773, occurred the Boston Tea Party, where a mob 
of colonists, disguised as Indians, boarded some Eng- 
lish ships laden with tea in the Harbor of Boston, 
and threw their contents into the sea. On the 5th 
September, 1774, the First Continental Congress met 
at Philadelphia, being the initial step towards the 
conflict which was to wrest the Colonies from the 
rule of the English King. The King persisted in 
repressive measures, and the colonists resisted in 
arms, bloodshed ensuing at the first engagement at 
Lexington Green, 19th April, 1775, which ushered in 
a war destined to last through eight long years, until, 

96 History of the Clan Donald 

in 1783, the Colonies should attain the right of self- 
government. True to old tradition, and to the fight- 
ing spirit of the Clan, the men of the MacDonalds, 
McDonalds and McDonnells, took a memorable part 
in the fighting on both sides of the conflict. Many 
of the Clan joined the sturdy farmers and hardy 
settlers who formed the patriot army which faced 
the soldiers of England, and fought gallantly from 
Lexington to Yorktown. 

In the lists and records relating to the Revolution- 
ary and other Wars, "McDonald" is the one form of 
orthography used in referring to members of this 
family; no distinction being made to identify those 
who used other modes of writing the name. 

In the List of Continental Army Officers, the fol- 
lowing of the Clan are mentioned as holding commis- 
sions : 

Major Adam McDonald, 1st South Carolina Regi- 
ment. He was killed in 1777. 

Major Daniel McDonald, 3rd New Jersey Regi- 

Captain John McDonald, 6th Pennsylvania Battal- 
ion and Swope's Battalion of the Flying Camp. 
Taken prisoner at Fort Washington, in 1776, he was 
exchanged in 1780. 

Captain James McDonald, 1st South Carolina 
Regiment and South Carolina Dragoons. 

Regimental Quarter-Master Alexander McDonald, 
Delaware Battalion of the Flying Camp. 

Lieutenant William McDonald, 3rd New Jersey 

History of the Clan Donald 97 

Lieutenant Barney McDonald, 4th Virginia Regi- 

Lieutenant Donald McDonald, 3rd Pennsylvania 

Lieutenant William McDonald, 4th Georgia Regi- 

Lieutenant Michael McDonald, Putnam's and Nix- 
on's Regiments. He was formerly a Lieutenant in 
the British Navy. 

And among the officers of the name in the Levies 
and Militia, were : 

Major Richard McDonald, First Battalion, Som- 
erset Regiment, New Jersey. 

Captain Lewis McDonald, Jr., of the East Bed- 
ford Company, 2nd Regiment, New York. 

Quarter-Master Barak McDonald of the Provi- 
dence County Troop of Horse, Rhode Island. 

Quarter-Master James McDonald, Westchester 
County Militia, New York. 

Lieutenant William McDonald, New Jersey Vol- 

Ensign Colin McDonald, 10th Regiment Albany 
County Militia, New York. 

Surgeon Donald McDonald of the sloop "Machias 

There were 128 soldiers and sailors of the name 
of McDonald (or MacDonald) , McDonnell, and other 
forms of the name, from the one Colony of Massa- 
chusetts alone, and from each of the colonies, the 
old fighting stock of Clan Donald came forth to 
battle, and to share in the ultimate victory. 

98 History of the Clan Donald 

With the British Forces engaged in the War were 
many officers and men of the different families of 
the Clan. 

At the time of the outbreak of the Revolution 
there was a large settlement of Scottish colonists 
at Cross Creek, in North Carolina. They brought 
with them to the new country, the sturdy senti- 
ments of the Covenanters, but loyalty was an inher- 
ent principle in their character, and when Donald 
McDonald called upon his countrymen to remember 
their oath of allegiance to the Crown, they, at first 
followed him to oppose the patriot army. But as 
the rebellion assumed the phase of resistance to op- 
pression and redress of wrongs many, afterward, 
fought in defense of the principles of the Covenant- 
ers with the forces of the Continental Congress. 
Donald McDonald, on the other hand, was commis- 
sioned a Brigadier General of the British Forces, 
by Lord Dunmore, and gathered more than one 
thousand Scots around him. He had fought for 
Prince Charles Edward at Culloden and had great 
influence over his colonist countr3rmen. Also at 
Cross Creek, lived Flora MacDonald, the heroine of 
the Prince's wanderings and escape, and she used 
all her influence to rally the Scots to General Mc- 
Donald's standard. After a fierce fight, the small 
loyalist forces were dispersed by the patriot army, 
and General McDonald taken prisoner. He was at 
first put in Halifax Prison, but was removed to 
Philadelphia, where he was kept in close confine- 
ment until exchanged, when he went to London. 

History of the Clan Donald 99 

Flora MacDonald's husband, Major Allan Mac- 
Donald, was also taken prisoner in the same en- 
gagement. He was Major in the North Carolina 
Highlanders, and with Flora had emigrated from 
Scotland to that Colony. He was released at the 
end of the war and left America. Their sons. Cap- 
tain Charles MacDonald and Lieutenant James Mac- 
Donald fought through the war with the British 

Among the officers in the Regular Army during 
the War of 1812, were the following of the name of 
McDonald, which is again the method of spelling 
the name in all records : Colonel James McDonald, 
Ohio, brevetted colonel for distinguished and meri- 
torious conduct in the sortie from Ft. Erie ; Colonel 
John McDonald, Ohio; Major William McDonald, 
Ohio, brevetted Major for gallant conduct at the 
Battle of Niagara; Captain Angus McDonald, Vir- 
ginia ; Captain James McDonald, Maryland ; Captain 
John McDonald, Ohio ; Captain and Surgeon Charles 
E. McDonald, New York; Lieutenant William Mc- 
Donald, Pennsylvania ; Lieutenant James McDonald, 
Tennessee; Lieutenant Ebenezer McDonald, Mary- 
land ; Cadet Angus W. McDonald, Virginia, 

Officers of the name who took part in the War 
with Mexico, 1846-1848, include: Major Philip W. 
McDonald, Pennsylvania, brevetted Lieutenant for 
gallant and meritorious conduct at Battle of Mon- 
terey, brevetted Captain for gallant and meritorious 
conduct in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, 
and Major for gallant conduct in the Battle of Cha- 

100 History of the Clan Donald 

pultapec ; Lieutenant Bedney F. McDonald, Georgia, 
brevetted Lieutenant for gallant and meritorious 
conduct in the Battle of Huamantla; Lieutenant 
John McDonald, 5th Ohio Infantry ; Lieutenant Fen- 
ton G. McDonald, Missouri Mounted Volunteers; 
Lieutenant J. McDonald, Texas Mounted Volunteers ; 
Lieutenant Charles McDonald, Tennessee Mounted 
Volunteers; Lieutenant James McDonald, 3rd Illi- 
nois Infantry ; Lieutenant John McDonald, 2nd Lou- 
isiana Infantry; Lieutenant Thomas J. McDonald, 
Bell's Regimet, Texas Volunteers; Surgeon George 
T. McDonald, Ohio ; Surgeon A. McDonald, Alabama 

The fundamental cause of the Civil War was the 
growth of the institution of slavery in the South, 
after it had long been practically abolished in the 
North. The question of the emancipation of these 
slaves led to a bitter dispute between the Northern 
and Southern States, the South insisting on the prin- 
ciple of State's rights, and the doctrine of secession. 
Between December 20th, 1860, and February 1st, 
1861, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, 
Georgia, Louisiana and Texas passed ordinances of 
secession, and on February 4th, 1861, the Confed- 
erate States of America were organized. Four other 
States, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennesse and Ar- 
kansas joined the new Confederacy. The secession 
was followed by hostilities, the first gun being fired 
at Fort Sumter, on April 12th, 1861. 

Among Officers of the Clan in the United States 
Army in the Civil War were : 

History of the Clan Donald 101 

Colonel Charles McDonald, 8th Missouri Infantry 
and 1st Memphis Tennesee Militia; killed in action 
at Memphis, 12th September, 1864 ; Lieutenant Colo- 
nel John E. McDonald, New York; Lieutenant 
Colonel William O. McDonald, New York; Major 
James McDonald, Ohio; Captain John McDonald, 
U. S. Cavalry ; Captain Alexander James McDonald, 
brevetted Lieutenant for gallant and meritorious 
conduct at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and Cap- 
tain, for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle 
of Chancellorsville ; Captain Isaiah B. McDonald, 
17th Indiana Infantry; Captain Robert McDonald; 
Lieutenant Isaiah H. McDonald, Ohio Infantry; 
Lieutenant and Quarter Master Robert McDonald, 
New York; Surgeon John McDonald, New York; 
and Surgeon Edward McDonnell, New York. 

The President also ordered drafts in the States 
and Territories and called for large bodies of Vol- 
unteers. The list of Field Officers of the Volunteer 
and Militia Forces contain the names of several of 
the Clan; the mode of spelling being uniformly 
"McDonald," as in the other Government lists. 
Colonel Andrew McDonald, 106th New York In- 
fantry; Colonel Christopher R. McDonald, 47th New 
York Infantry; Lieutenant Colonel Orlando G. Mc- 
Donald, 87th Missouri Militia; Lieutenant Colonel 
John S. McDonald, 17th West Virginia Infantry; 
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph M. McDonald, 47th New 
York Infantry ; Lieutenant Colonel Duncan McDon- 
ald, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry ; Major William D. Mc- 
Donald, 33d Missouri Militia; Major Asa W. Mc- 

102 History of the Clan Donald 

Donald, 7th Illinois Cavalry; Major Henry J. Mc- 
Donald, 11th Connecticut Infantry; Major John 
McDonald, 8th Missouri Infantry; Major James H. 
McDonald, 50th New York Engineers; Major James 
H. McDonald, 60th Illinois Infantry; Major James 
W. McDonald, 11th Massachusetts Infantry. 

With the Southern Army were a number of mem- 
bers of the different families of the Clan, who, con- 
sidering allegiance to their State of supreme impor- 
tance, fought bravely with the Army of the Confed- 
erate States. The records of the Confederacy are 
in many respects very deficient, and it is not possible 
to give individual names, but among those of the 
Clan may be mentioned a descendant in a direct line 
of the MacDonalds or McDonnells of Glengarry. 
Craig W. MacDonald of the Confederate States 
Army was born in 1837. His father was Colonel 
Angus MacDonald, a son of Major Angus MacDon- 
ald of Glengarry, Virginia, mentioned earlier in this 
chapter. Craig MacDonald entered the Virginia 
Military Academy in 1855, but in the following year 
became a student at Virginia University. When the 
Civil War broke out he joined the command of Gen- 
eral Elzey, who made him his aide-de-camp. He 
was killed at the Battle of Gaines Mill. 

Colonel Angus W. MacDonald, the Confederate 
Cavalry leader, born in Virginia, and entered the 
Military Academy as a Cadet in 1814. He served in 
the United States Army as Lieutenant, but resigned 
and became a fur trader of the Missouri Company 
until 1825, when he became Counselor at Law at 

History of the Clan Donald 103 

Romney, Virginia. In 1840, he was appointed Brig- 
adier General of Virginia Militia, and on the out- 
break of the war joined the Confederate forces 
against the United States. He died at Richmond, 
Virginia, in 1865. 


ARLY arrivals in the new Colonies set- 
tled, in the main, near the seaboard, 
which by degrees became well occupied, 
and the consequent movement of the set- 
tlers from the coast regions into the interior was a 
notable feature of the eighteenth century. Follow- 
ing this new trend of migration, many of the Clan 
settled inland, or crossing the mountains joined the 
company of virile and aggressive pioneers, who fear- 
lessly pitched their tents deeper and deeper into 
the great land of the West. 

In later and more peaceable times those bearing 
the names of the different branches of the Clan 
have ever taken an active part in the strenuous 
movements of American life, gaining for themselves 
a front rank in its roll call of distinguished men in 
the army, navy and the Church, in politics, litera- 
ture, arts and sciences. 

In the political life of the country the Clan has 
been represented in both houses of Congress. 

Alexander McDonald was United States Senator 
from Arkansas, serving from 1868 to 1871 in the 
40th and 41st Congresses. He was born at Far- 
randsville, Clinton County, Pennsylvania, the son of 
a native of Ayrshire, Scotland, who came to this 
country in 1827. Alexander McDonald amassed a 
considerable fortune and was most active in raising 


History of the Clan Donald 105 

troops for the Federal Army during the Civil War, 
for some time supporting three regiments at his own 
expense. He died at New York City, in 1903. 

Joseph Ewing McDonald was United States Sena- 
tor from Indiana in the 44th, 45th and 46th Con- 
gresses. He was born in Ohio, in 1819, the son of 
Colonel John McDonald mentioned in the preceding 
chapter. His father died during his infancy, and, 
in 1826 the family moved to Montgomery County, 
Indiana. He was at first apprenticed to a saddler 
and harnessmaker, from which honorable calling 
originated his later senatorial sobriquet, "Old Saddle 
Bags." After studying law, he was admitted to the 
bar in 1844. In 1849, he served one term as Repre- 
sentative in the 31st Congress; was Attorney Gen- 
eral for the State of Indiana, and elected Senator 
in 1875, serving for six years. He died at Indianap- 
olis, in 1891. 

Moses McDonald was member of the House of 
Representatives from Maine, in the 32nd and 33rd 
Congresses. He was born in the State, and prac- 
ticed law, serving as representative in the State Leg- 
islature, Speaker of the State House, and State Sena- 
tor. He died at Saco, Maine, in 1869. 

John L. MacDonald, Representative from Minne- 
sota in the 50th Congress, was born at Glasgow, 
Scotland, in 1838. After coming to this country 
he was admitted to the bar in 1859, and served as 
Judge of the Probate Court of Scott Country, Prose- 
cuting Attorney, and editor of two newspapers. 
During the Civil War he was commissioned to enlist 

106 History of the Clan Donald 

and muster in Volunteers for the Federal Army. 
He also served as Representative and Senator in 
the State Legislature. 

Edward F. McDonald was member of the House 
of Representatives from New Jersey in the 52d Con- 
gress. Born in Ireland, in 1844, he came to this 
country with his parents during infancy. He served 
in the Civil War, enlisting in 1861, before he was 
seventeen years old. He died at Harrison, New 
Jersey, in 1892. 

John McDonald, Representative from Maryland 
in the 55th Congress, was born in 1837 and came to 
America, where he enlisted in the United States 
Army in 1857. After serving in several Indian cam- 
paigns, he was vdth the Cavalry Corps of the Army 
of the Potomac through the Civil War, and retired 
as Captain of Cavalry in 1868. 

William J. MacDonald, Representative from Mich- 
igan in the 63rd Congress was born in 1874, in 
Grant County, Wisconsin, and is a lawyer, residing 
at Calumet in that State. 

In connection with Congress, it is interesting to 
note that one of the Clan was the first Chief Clerk 
of the Senate of the United States, and that three 
generations of his family have held the same office. 
John Gunn McDonald was the first Chief Clerk of 
the Senate, and at the time of the burning of the 
Capitol by the British, in the War of 1812, McDon- 
ald saved the records and documents of the Senate, 
burying them until all danger was passed. The 
office of Chief Clerk was also held by his son, W. J. 

History of the Clan Donald 107 

McDonald. Therefore, when in the 59th Congress, 
H. B. McDonald, a son of W. J. McDonald, became 
Chief Clerk of the Senate, he represented the third 
generation of his family to occupy this important 

Three members of the Clan have been Governors 
of States. 

Charles James McDonald, nineteenth Governor of 
Georgia, 1839-1843, w^as born in Charleston, South 
Carolina, in 1793. Later his parents removed to 
Hancock County, Georgia. He was admitted to the 
bar in 1817, and after serving as Judge of the Su- 
preme Court of Flint Circuit, State Representative 
and State Senator, was elected Governor in 1839. He 
died in 1860. 

Jesse Fuller McDonald, Governor of Colorado, 
1905-1906, was born at Ashtabula, Ohio, in 1858, 
and went to Leadville, Colorado, in 1879, where he 
became engaged in mining. He was State Senator, 
1902, and Lieutenant Governor, 1904. 

William C. McDonald, first State Governor of New 
Mexico, 1911, was born at Jordanville, New York, 
in 1858. After being admitted to the bar at Fort 
Scott, Kansas, in 1880, he, the same year, removed 
to Lincoln County, New Mexico. He was a member 
of the Legislature of New Mexico, 1891-1892. 

In many walks of life, men and women of the Clan 
have attained prominence, and by their learning, 
industry and genius sustained the reputation of the 
grand old name. 

Daniel McDonald, Educator, born at Watertown, 

108 History of the Clan Donald 

Connecticut, in 1785, was the great grandson of 
Colonel Louis McDonald of Inverness, born 1708, 
who came to this country and became Colonel of the 
Colonial Militia of New York. Daniel McDonald was 
ordained a priest of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, in 1810, and after being Rector of different 
churches, became Principal of Geneva College, New 
York. He died in 1830. 

William MacDonald, Lecturer on Government, 
University of California, was born at Providence, 
Rhode Island, in 1863, and was Dean of the Depart- 
ment of Music in the University of Kansas from 
1884 until 1890. He then graduated at Harvard, 
in 1892, and became Professor of History and Eco- 
nomics at Worcester, Massachusetts, Polytechnic In- 
stitute. He also held the Professorship of History 
and Political Science at Bowdoin College, and of 
History at Brown University. He is author of 
"Select Documents of the History of the United 
States"; "Select Charters and Other Documents Il- 
lustrative of American History" ; "History and Gov- 
ernment of Maine"; "Jacksonian Democracy"; 
"From Jefferson to Lincoln" ; edited "Johnson's High 
School History of the United States," and contrib- 
uted numerous articles to periodicals. 

Duncan Black MacDonald was born at Glasgow, 
Scotland, in 1863. He became Professor of Semitic 
Languages at Hartford Theological Seminary and 
has served as Haskell Lecturer at the University of 
Chicago ; Special Lecturer at Wellesley College ; and 
Lamson Lecturer on Mohammedanism at Hartford 

History of the Clan Donald 109 

Theological Seminary. He is author of "Selections 
From Ibn IChaldim"; "Aspects of Islam"; and nu- 
merous works on Semitic theology, literature and 

Robert A. F. McDonald, Professor, Bates College, 
Lewiston, Maine, was born at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 
in 1878, and is author of "Adjustment of School Or- 
ganization to Various Population Groups," and 
many lectures on educational topics. 

James M. MacDonald, born at Limerick, Maine, 
1812, was the son of Major John MacDonald, who 
served in the War of 1812. James M. MacDonald 
was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry, 1835, 
and was for some years pastor of the First Presby- 
terian Church, Princeton, New Jersey. Author of 
"Key to Revelation" ; "My Father's House" ; "Eccle- 
siastes Explained" ; and other theological works. 

Charles E. McDonnell, Roman Catholic Bishop of 
Brooklyn, was born in New York City, in 1854. 
After holding many high offices in connection with 
St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, he was 
appointed to the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1891, and 
consecrated Bishop in 1892. 

Alexander McDonald, born at Forres, Morayshire, 
Scotland, in 1833, was one of the Pioneers of the 
oil industry in the United States. The first com- 
pany to deal in oil as a merchandise was known as 
Alexander McDonald & Company, of Cincinnati. 
This was in 1862. 

Marshall MacDonald, pisciculturist, was born at 
Romney, Hampshire County, West Virginia, in 1835. 

110 History of the Clan Donald 

He was great grandson of Angus MacDonald, who 
emigrated from Scotland, and settled in Frederick 
County, Virginia, in 1747. Marshall MacDonald 
was educated at the Virginia Military Institute, and 
at the University of Virginia. At the outbreak of 
the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Army as 
Inspector on the staif of Stonewall Jackson, and 
served throughout the entire war, rising to the 
rank of Major of Engineers, acting as Engineer in 
Charge of the Siege of Vicksburg. He was ap- 
pointed Brigadier General, but the commission did 
not reach him before General Lee's surrender. After 
the war he became Professor of Chemistry and Min- 
ing Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute. 
In 1875, he was appointed Fish Commissioner of 
Virginia, and was widely known as one of the fore- 
most ichthyologists, perfecting many inventions in 
connection with the hatching and culture of fish. 
From 1888 until 1895 he was United States Commis- 
sioner of Fish and Fisheries. He died at Washing- 
ton, D. C, 1895. 

Alexander McDonald was born at Lynchburg, 
Virginia, in 1827, being editor of the Lynchburg 
"Virginia" from 1850 to 1893. In 1891 he was 
elected to the State Senate, and served as a Commis- 
sioner to the Vienna and Paris Expositions. He was 
appointed United States Minister to Persia, in 1893, 
and died at Lynchburg, in 1897. 

Charles MacDonald, Civil Engineer, was born in 
Canada, of Scottish descent, in 1837, and engaged in 
railroad work for some years, but his name is best 

History of the Clan Donald 111 

known in connection with bridge construction, hav- 
ing designed and constructed some of the largest 
railroad bridges in the country. MacDonald spent 
some time in Australia during the erection of the 
Hawkesbury Bridge in New South Wales. 

"The man who built the New York subway" was 
the name given John B. McDonald, who was born in 
Ireland, in 1844, his parents emigrating to New 
York when he was three years of age. His business 
career as a railroad contractor began on the Croton 
Water Works, New York City; then followed the 
Fourth Avenue Improvement and the Vanderbilt 
Tunnels. His other enterprises included work on the 
West Shore Railroad, the Akron and Ohio Railroad, 
and the Trenton Cut-off on the Pennsylvania Rail- 
road. On February 25th, 1900, the contract for the 
construction of the underground Rapid Transit 
System in New York City was awarded to McDon- 
ald, and on March 24, 1900, the formal breaking of 
the ground for the tunnel took place in City Hall 
Park. In 1904, the first trains were put in operation 
in "McDonald's Last Ditch." 

Carlos Frederick MacDonald, M. D., and alienist, 
was born at Niles, Ohio, in 1845. During the Civil 
War he served in the 6th Ohio Cavalry, later becom- 
ing Medical Superintendent of the Binghampton 
Asylum for the Insane, and of the State Asylum for 
Insane Criminals. He was called to Buffalo to deter- 
mine the mental condition of Czolgosz, the assassin 
of President McKinley, and was medical counsel to 
District Attorney Jerome in the Thaw trial. 

112 History of the Clan Donald 

James MacDonald, M. D., born at White Plains, 
New York, in 1803, was sent abroad by the Govern- 
ors of the New York Hospital to visit the insane asy- 
lums of Europe. He published "A Review of Fer- 
rers on Insanity" ; "Statistics of Bloomingdale Asy- 
lum"; "A Dissertation on Puerperal Insanity"; and 
other works. He died at Flushing, Long Island, in 

David McDonald, born near Millersburg, Ken- 
tucky, in 1803, became a "New Light" preacher in 
1820, but left the ministry to practise law in Indian- 
apolis. The Presidency of Indiana Asbury Univer- 
sity was offered him, in 1856, but was declined on 
the gound that he was not a College graduate. From 
1864 until 1869 he was Judge of the United States 
District Court for Indiana, and was author of "Mc- 
Donald's Treatise," and other legal works. He died 
at Indianapolis, in 1869. 

The celebrated Maxwell-Preller murder case, 
which attracted the attention of the civilized world, 
was one of a number of cases managed by Marshall 
F. McDonald during his term of office as Assistant 
Circuit Attorney at St. Louis. He was a native of 
Iowa, born at Council Bluffs in 1854. His grand- 
father who emigrated from Scotland in 1800, was 
one of the pioneer settlers of the State of Iowa. 
Marshall F. McDonald was admitted to the bar of 
St. Louis, in 1881, being elected Assistant Circuit 
Attorney in 1884, retiring from that office in 1888 
to begin private practice. 

James William McDonald was born at Stockton, 

History of the Clan Donald 113 

California, in 1858, of Scottish ancestry. He set- 
tled in St. Louis, and became one of the most promi- 
nent merchants of the country. 

The first merchant to import lace and embroidery 
to the United States, Robert MacDonald, was born at 
Paisley, Scotland, and came to this country during 
the time of the Civil War. He died in 1917. 

Brave enough to "charge hell with a bucket of 
water" was the description of Captain Bill McDon- 
ald, the Texas Ranger, contained in the report of 
Major Blocksom on the Brownsville affair. He was 
Captain of the Texas Rangers, until appointed State 
Revenue Agent, in 1907. 

The preceding memoirs of members of the Clan 
in the United States include authors of many works 
on a variety of legal, historical and educational sub- 
jects, and to these may be added a goodly list of 
writers, bearing the name of families of the Clan, 
who have made noteworthy contribution to the lit- 
erature of America. 

Etta Austin Blaisdell McDonald is the author 
(with sister) of many publications, including "Child 
Life" ; "Child Life in Tale and Fable" ; "The Blais- 
dell Spellers" ; and "Mother Goose Children." 

Eleanor W. MacDonald wrote "The Winning of 
Walk-Over-the-Water," a story of Indian love. 

John W. McDonald is the author of "A Soldier of 

Robert McDonald is author of "Her Ladyship." 

Agnes MacDonell is author of "For the King's 

114 History of the Clan Donald 

Rev. John McDonald of Albany published many 
works, including "Isaiah's Message to the American 
Nation" ; "A Sermon on the Death of General Alex- 
ander Hamilton"; "The New Testament Translated 
Out of the Original Greek" ; "The Duty of America 
Enforced"; "The Danger of America Delineated"; 
and "The Faithful Steward." 

Joseph McDonnell is author of "Half Hours With 

Alexander MacDonald wrote "The Holy House of 

A. J. MacDonald published, "Monuments, Grave- 
stones and Burying Grounds." 

Malcolm MacDonald is the author of "Harmony of 
Ancient History" ; and "Guatemozin : A Drama." 

James Grover McDonald wrote "Current Miscon- 
ceptions About the War" ; and "German 'Atrocities' 
and International Law." 

John MacDonald is author of "Czar Ferdinand and 
His People." 

Elizabeth Roberts MacDonald wrote "Dream 
Verses" and other poems. 

George MacDonald wrote "A Hidden Life," and 
other poems. 

Donald McDonald is author of "Sweet Scented 
Flowers and Fragrant Leaves." 

M. A. MacDonald published poems under the lit- 
erary title of "M. A. M." 

Mary Noel MacDonald's Poems were written over 
the initials "M. N." 

Anna Singleton MacDonald is author of "Colunx- 

History of the Clan Donald 115 

Arthur MacDonald made a special study of in- 
sanity, hypnotism and criminology, and is author of 
"Plan for the Study of Man"; "Abnormal Man"; 
"Emil Zola"; "Criminology"; "Juvenile Crime and 
Eeformation" ; and many other works on his special 
subjects of study. 

James Wallace MacDonald is author of "Language 
Instruction in High Schools of Massachusetts"; 
"Primary Algebra." 

Dennis J. McDonald wrote "Speech Improve- 

Neil C. MacDonald is author of "The Problem of 
Rural School Betterment" ; "Preparation of Service 
Thru the School" ; "Rural School Sanitation." 

John Angus MacDonald is author of "Successful 
Advertising; How to Accomplish It"; "Successful 
Retail Advertising." 

C. M. MacDonald published "Design Argument 

G. B. MacDonald published "Preservative Treat- 
ment of Fence Posts" ; "Renewing the Shelterbelt" ; 
"Legislative Procedure." 

Greville MacDonald is author of "Vivisection and 
Progress" ; "The Tree in the Midst." 

George E. MacDonald wrote "A Letter to Solici- 
tor Lamar" ; "Thumbscrew and Rack." 

Edward McDonald is author of "Old Copp's Hill 
and Burial Ground." 

Dale Francis McDonald virrote "Infantry Train- 

Pearl MacDonald is the author of "The Canning 

116 History of the Clan Donald 

of Vegetables"; "Grain and Grain Products"; 
"Meats and Meat Substitutes"; "The Preservation 
of Fruits and Vegetables." 

Donald F. MacDonald published, "Outline of Canal 
Zone Geology"; "Report of the Physiography and 
General Geology of the Lower Flood Plain of the 
Sixaola River"; "Some Engineering Problems of 
the Panama Canal." 

Francis Charles MacDonald is the author of 

E. M. MacDonald wrote "Colonel Robert G. Inger- 
soll As He Is." 

Frank Virgil McDonald is the author of Gene- 
alogical works. 

The colossal head of Washington in Prospect Park, 
Brooklyn, is the work of James Wilson Alexander 
MacDonald, who was born at Steubenville, Ohio, in 
1824. His earlest work as a sculptor in marble was 
a bust of Thomas H. Burton, the first of the kind 
executed west of the Mississippi. He also executed a 
colossal bronze statue for Forest Park, St. Louis, 
and a statue of Halleck for Central Park, New York 

Christie MacDonald, the prima donna, was born 
in Nova Scotia, but made her professional reputation 
in the United States. She first appeared as a light 
opera star, in 1900, in "Princess Chic," and appeared 
in the leading role in "The Belle of Mayfair" ; Miss 
Hook of Holland" ; "Mikado" ; "The Spring Maid" ; 
and many other productions. 

Two distinguished members of the Clan represent 

History of the Clan Donald 117 

each branch of the United States service. Rear Ad- 
miral John Daniel McDonald, born at Machias, 
Maine, in 1863, was appointed Commandant of the 
Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1918. Brigadier General 
John Bacon McDonald was born in Alabama in 1859. 


N the "old country" the Clan is repre- 
sented in the Peerage, the Baronetage 
and in the different Orders of Knight- 

The present Earl of Antrim is Randal Mark Kerr 
McDonnell, 7th Earl of the 2nd Creation, and Vis- 
count Dunluce. He was born in 1878, and succeeded 
his father in 1918. The family seats are Glenarm 
Castle, County Antrim, Ireland, and Friendly Green, 
Cowden, Kent. 

Baron MacDonald, Ronald Archibald MacDonald, 
6th Baron (Ireland), was born in 1853, and suc- 
ceeded to the title in 1874. The first Baron Mac- 
Donald was Sir Alexander MacDonald, third son of 
Sir Alexander MacDonald, 7th Baronet of Sleat. He 
was elevated to the Peerage of Ireland on the 17th 
July, 1776, by the title of Baron MacDonald of Slate, 
County Antrim. The modern seat of Lord MacDon- 
ald is Armadale Castle, in the Isle of Skye, on the 
shore of the Sound of Sleat. 

The first, and present. Baron MacDonnell is Sir 
Antony Patrick MacDonnell, P. C. ; G. C. S. I. ; K. C. 
V. 0.; born 1844, and created Baron in 1908. He 
was Lieutenant Governor of the Indian North West 
Provinces and Oudh ; a member of the Council of the 
Viceroy of India ; and formerly Chief Commissioner 


History of the Clan Donald 119 

in Burma and the Central Provinces. Until 1908, 
he was Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of 

The Baroness MacDonald of Earnscliffe, in the 
Province of Ontario, and Dominion of Canada, 
Susan Agnes MacDonald. is the widow of the Right 
Honourable Sir John Alexander MacDonald, P. C; 
G. C. B. ; Prime Minister of the Dominion of Can- 
ada, who died on the 6th June, 1891. Her Ladyship 
was created a Peeress, as Baroness MacDonald of 
Earnscliffe, on 14th August, 1891. Seats: Earns- 
cliffe, Ottawa; Les Rochers, Riviere du Loup, Que- 
bec ; and Ketotsin, National Park, Banff, Northwest 
Territories ; all in Canada. 

Sir Alexander Wentworth MacDonald Bosville 
MacDonald of the Isles, 14th Baronet of Sleat, in 
the Island of Skye, and 21st Chief of Sleat, was born 
in 1865. The family seats are Thorpe Hall, near 
Bridlington, and Gunthwaite Hall, near Penistone, 

Sir Archibald John MacDonald, 4th Baronet of 
East Sheen, was born in 1871, succeeded his father 
in 1901, and died in 1919, when the title became 
extinct. The family took descent from Sir Archi- 
bald MacDonald, the posthumous son of Sir Alex- 
ander MacDonald, 7th Baronet of Sleat, and brother 
of Alexander, 1st Baron MacDonald. The first Sir 
Archibald became Solicitor General, in 1784 ; Attor- 
ney General, in 1788 ; Chief Baron of the Exchequer 
in 1793 ; and was created a Baronet in 1813. 

Several members of the Clan have received the 

120 History of the Clan Donald 

honor of Knighthood, the present representatives 
being : 

Major General Sir James Ronald Leslie MacDon- 
ald, K.C.I. E.;C.B. 

Sir Andrew McDonald, Knight Bachelor, a mer- 
chant of Edinburgh who was Lord Provost of the 

Sir John MacDonell, K. C. B.; King's Remem- 
brancer and Senior Master of the Supreme Court of 
Judicature. He is Dean of the Faculty of Laws 
in the University of London, and standing Counsel 
to the Board of Trade. He was born in 1846. 

Major General Si-r Donald Alexander MacDonald, 
Knight Bachelor ; C. M. G. ; I. S. O. ; Canadian Mili- 
tia, and formerly Chief Superintendent of Stores, 

The Honorable Sir Hugh John MacDonald, Knight 
Bachelor; K. C. ; Police Magistrate of the City of 
Winnipeg. He was Canadian Minister of the Inte- 
rior, 1896, and is son of the late Right Honourable 
Sir John Alexander MacDonald and stepson of the 
Baroness MacDonald of Earnscliffe. 

Sir Alexander McDonald, G. B. E. ; Joint Director 
of the Ministry of Munitions for Ireland, was 
knighted in 1917. 

The Right Honourable Sir John Hay Athole Mac- 
Donald, P. C; G. C. B.; Lieutenant of the Royal 
Company of Archers, was, from 1888 until 1915, 
Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, in virtue of which 
post he assumed the official title of Lord Kingsburgh. 

Sir Murdoch MacDonald, K. C. M, G.; C. B.: is 

History of the Clan Donald 121 

Adviser and Under Secretary of State for Public 
Works, Egypt. 

Major General Sir Archibald Cameron MacDonell, 
K. C. B. ; C. M. G. ; D. S. 0., is son of S. S. MacDonell, 
Q. C, of Windsor, Ontario, and was born in 1864. 

Many of the ancient branches of the Clan have 
become extinct in the main line of descent, and newer 
families have arisen. The following are the present 
heads of some of the families of the Clan. 

John Ronald Moreton MacDonald of Largie, Ar- 
gyllshire, born 1873, is descended from John Mor 
MacDonald, of Dunnyveg, second son of John, Lord 
of the Isles and the Princess Margaret of Scotland, 
daughter of Robert II. The family seat is Largie 
Castle, Tayinloan. 

The present head of the family of Balranald is 
James Alexander Ranald MacDonald, who was born 
in 1881. The family seat is Balranald, Lochmaddy, 
in North Uist. 

William Bell MacDonald of Rammerscales takes 
descent from Donald MacDonald, who was born in 
1665, and was Captain of the MacDonald Highland- 
ers at the Battle of Killiekrankie. Rammerscales, 
the family seat, is near Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire. 

Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Lachlan MacDonald 
is the representative of the family of Skeabost, In- 

John Ranald MacDonald of Sand, Argyllshire, was 
born in 1869. 

The last and 21st Chief of Glengarry, Aeneas Ran- 
ald MacDonell, was born in 1875. 

122 History of the Clan Donald 

To record the names and story of all the MacDon- 
alds, McDonalds and McDonnells who have been 
prominent characters, or have taken a noted part 
in the history and development of the British Em- 
pire, would alone require a complete volume to do 
anything like justice to the subject ; so many of the 
Clan having distinguished themselves in every quar- 
ter of the globe. Consequently it must suffice to 
mention some notable names. 

The Jacobite heroine. Flora MacDonald, was the 
daughter of Ranald MacDonald of Balivanich and 
Milton in the Island of South Uist, in the Hebrides, 
and his wife, Marion, the daughter of Angus Mac- 
Donald, minister of South Uist. Her father was 
the son of Angus Og, son of Ranald, first of Ben- 
becula. Flora MacDonald was born in 1722, and at 
the age of two lost her father and was adopted by 
the wife of the chief of her clan, MacDonald of 
Clan Ranald, to whom she owed her upbringing and 
her schooling at Edinburgh. Shortly after her re- 
turn to South Uist from Edinburgh, the rising of 
1745 broke out, and in June, 1746, when she was 
living at Benbecula, Prince Charles Edward took 
refuge there after the Battle of Culloden, and sought 
her help. The Island was held for the Government 
by the local Militia, but the sympathies of the Mac- 
Donalds were with the Prince, and after some hesi- 
tation Flora promised to help. On the pretense of 
going to visit her mother, who had married Captain 
Hugh MacDonald, then in charge of the militia, 
she obtained from her step-father a passport for 

History of the Clan Donald 123 

herself, her man-servant, "an Irish spinning maid 
named Betty Burke," and a crew of six men, Betty 
Burke was the Prince, and probably Captain Mac- 
Donald was aware of the fact. At ten o'clock on the 
night of June 27th, the party set sail across the 
Minch to Skye. The presence of a large party of 
the MacLeod Militia on the beach prevented their 
landing, and they held out to sea, disembarking early 
in the forenoon at Kilbride. Leaving the Prince and 
her man-servant to take shelter in a cave. Flora pro- 
ceeded to the seat of Sir Alexander MacDonald, 
where she confided to Lady MacDonald the desperate 
case of the Prince, and obtained promises of assist- 
ance to accomplish his escape. Prince Charlie was 
sent for the night to the factor's house at Kings- 
burgh. Flora and her man-servant accompanying 
him, they next day set out for Portree, where 
a boat conveyed him to Raasay, and he was finally 
able to escape to France. On her return home to 
Milton, Flora was arrested, was conveyed to London, 
and for a short time confined in the Tower, but was 
soon allowed to live outside under the guard of a 
"messenger." She received her liberty by the Act 
of Indemnity of 1747. In 1750 she married Allan 
MacDonald the younger, of Kingsburgh, and, in 
1773 they emigrated to North Carolina. As already 
told, her husband served the British Government in 
the War of Independence, and was taken prisoner. 
In 1779 Flora returned home to Scotland in a mer- 
chant ship, which was attacked by a privateer. She 
refused to leave the deck during the fight, and was 

124 History of the Clan Donald 

wounded in the arm, causing her to remark that she 
had therefore suffered for both the Stuart and Han- 
overian causes. After her husband's return to Scot- 
land they resided at Milton, but later removed to 
Kingsburgh, where she died on the 5th March, 1790. 
The name of another of the Clan has been inti- 
mately connected with the career of Prince Charles 
Edward. Andrew Lang, in "Pickle the Spy" and 
"The Companions of Pickle," claims to prove that 
the secret agent "Pickle" who acted as a spy on the 
Prince after 1750, was Alastair or Alexander Mac- 
Donell, Chief of Glengarry. The aspersion has been 
strenuously repudiated by writers of the Clan. Al- 
astair's father was John, 12th Chief of Glengarry, 
said to have been a most violent and ill-tempered 
man. Alastair ran away to France, in 1738, while a 
mere boy of thirteen years of age, and entered the 
French service in the Royal Scots Regiment. He 
went to Scotland, in 1744, as an agent for the Stuart 
cause, returning to France with messages in Jan- 
uary, 1745, and was still in France when Prince 
Charles Edward landed in Scotland. Late in that 
year he was captured at sea by the English Gov- 
ernment while on his way to join the Prince and 
was imprisoned in the Tower of London for twenty- 
two months. On his release he again went abroad, 
but, in 1749, was in London, and it is at this time 
the alleged offer of his services as a spy was made 
to and accepted by the Government. The informa- 
tion supplied by the spy "Pickle," whoever he may 
have been, enabled the British Ministers to keep a 

Historij of the Clan Donald 125 

close watch on the Prince, and the conspiracies 
formed for the restoration of the House of Stuart. 
A Mrs. Cameron, whose husband had been executed 
in 1752, denounced MacDonell as the informant, but 
he never lost the confidence of the leaders of the 
Stuart adherents. He succeeded his father, as Chief 
of Glengarry, in 1754, and died in 1761. 

Lawrence MacDonald, the British Sculptor, was 
born at Cask House, Perthshire, in 1799, the son of 
a poor violinist. When very young he was appren- 
ticed to the trade of a stone mason, but took every 
opportunity to cultivate a natural taste for model- 
ling and drawning, and became an art student at 
the Trustees Academy, Edinburgh. He studied and 
worked in Rome in 1823, acquiring a wide reputa- 
tion. On his return to Scotland he modelled many 
fine busts, and was elected a member of the Scottish 
Academy, in 1829. He again took up his abode in 
Rome, in 1832, where he remained until his death 
in 1878. Among his works may be mentioned the 
classic groups, "Ajax and Patroclis"; "Thetis and 
Achilles" ; "Ulysses and His Dog Argos" ; and "An- 
dromeda Chained to the Rock." 

Colonel Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell, of Glen- 
garry, thought to have been the last genuine speci- 
men of a Highland Chief, and to have suggested to 
Sir Walter Scott some traits in the Fergus Maclvor 
of "Waverley," was the eldest son and successor of 
Duncan MacDonell, 14th hereditary Chief of Glen- 
garry. When on a journey he was always attended 
by a large Highland retinue, and when in pursuit 

126 History of the Clan Donald 

of deer would sleep out, wrapped in his plaid, for 
nights together. He was drowned in 1828, while 
escaping from a ship which had been wrecked. 

Alexander MacDonald, Alastair MacMhaighstir 
Alastair, the Gaelic Poet, was born at Dalilea, on 
Loch Shiel, Argyllshire, in 1700. He held a com- 
mission under his cousin Charles, who mustered the 
Clan Ranald, and took his full share of the cam- 
paign of 1745-1746. MacDonald was excelled by 
none in the merit of his war songs, such as "Moladh 
an Leoghainn." His best work is considered to be 
the "Birlinn Chlainn. Raonuill." He died at Santaig 
in 1780. 

A later poet, novelist and lecturer, of the Clan, 
George MacDonald, was born at Huntly, Aberdeen- 
shire, in 1824. He was of the Glencoe MacDonalds, 
and a direct descendant of one of the families that 
suffered in the massacre. He studied at Aberdeen 
University, where he took his degree, and from there 
went to Highbury College, London, to study for the 
Congregational ministry. His health, however, was 
unequal to the strain of ministerial work, and he 
devoted himself to literature. His first book was 
published in 1856, followed by many popular novels, 
among others "David Elginbrod"; "Alec Forbes of 
Howglen"; "The Marquis of Lossie"; and "Donal 
Grant." He was editor of "Good Words for the 
Young," and lectured in America. His poems in- 
clude "Within and Without" ; the "faerie romance," 
"Phantastes" ; and a volume of Poems, in which is 
the following, entitled "Ane by Ane" : 

History of the Clan Donald 127 

"Ane by ane they gang awa', 

The Gatherer gathers great an' sma', 

Ane by ane mak's ane an' a'. 

Aye when ane set doun the cup, 
Ane ahint maun tak it up, 
Yet thegither they will sup. 

Golden-heided, ripe an' Strang, 
Shorn will be the hairst ere lang. 
Syne begins a better sang !" 

The distinction of having been the first man to 
walk in London with an umbrella was claimed by 
a MacDonald. John of that name, born in Urquhart, 
in 1741, after a youth spent in a variety of vagabond 
occupations, became first a gentleman's servant, and 
then achieved an unenviable notoriety as Beau Mac- 
Donald. He traveled over Europe and Asia with 
his employers, and his "Travels in Various Parts" 
was published in London, in 1790. He claimed to 
have been the first to walk London streets with the 
now familiar umbrella. 

A pioneer in a very different field, was Alexander 
MacDonald, the first working man to obtain a seat 
in Parliament. Born of poor parents, and at the 
early age of eight years sent down the pit to work 
with his father, he was as often as possible sent to 
school by his mother. He became a prominent advo- 
cate of the interests of the miners, and in 1842, took 
an active part in a strike. After saving from his 

128 History of the Clan Donald 

scanty earnings sufficient to enter Glasgow Univer- 
sity, he studied there two winter sessions, earning 
the necessary money in the summer. He took a 
leading part in all conferences of the miners, and, 
in 1863, was elected President of the National 
Miners' Association. He unsuccessfully contested 
Kilmarnock Burghs, in 1868, but was elected Mem- 
ber of Parliament for Stafford, in 1874. 

The Honorable and Right Reverend Alexander 
MacDonnell, Chaplain of the Glengarry Fencibles, 
or British Highland Regiment, First Roman Catholic 
Bishop of Upper Canada, and a member of the Leg- 
islative Council of the Province, was born at Inch- 
laggan in Glengarry, in 1760. He was ordained 
priest at Valladolid, Spain, in 1789, and returned to 
Scotland. From there he sailed for Canada, in No- 
vember, 1804, and, in 1819, was nominated, and in 
1820, consecrated Bishop of Resina and Vicar Apos- 
tolic of Upper Canada. When Upper Canada was 
erected into a Bishopric, in 1826, Bishop MacDon- 
nell became its first Bishop. He died in 1840. 

The Organizer of the Dominion of Canada, and its 
first Premier, Sir John Alexander MacDonald, was 
born at Glasgow, Scotland, on 11th January, 1815, 
son of Hugh MacDonald, a native of Sutherland- 
shire, who emigrated to Canada, in 1820, settling at 
Kingston, Ontario. John Alexander MacDonald was 
called to the Bar in 1836, and commenced practice 
at Kingston. His first public office was that of 
Alderman of Kingston, but, in 1844, MacDonald was 
elected to the Provincial Assembly as Conservative 

History of the Clan Donald 129 

member for that city. A quotation from his elec- 
toral address on this occasion expresses the domi- 
nant note of his public career: "I therefore need 
scarcely state my firm belief that the prosperity of 
Canada depends upon its permanent connection with 
the mother country, and that I shall resist to the 
utmost any attempt (from whatever quarter it may 
come) which may tend to weaken that union." In 
1847, he was appointed Receiver General with a seat 
in the Executive Council, shortly afterwards becom- 
ing Commissioner of Crown Lands. After the Gov- 
ernment of which he was a member was defeated the 
Reform Government which succeeded passed the 
Rebellion Losses Bill. In connection with the ex- 
citement caused by the passage of the Bill, Mac- 
Donald was one of the organizers of the British- 
American League, the objects of which were the 
confederation of all the Provinces, the strength- 
ening of the ties with the mother country, and 
the adoption of a national commercial policy. 
He brought about a coalition of Conservatives 
and Moderate Reformers, from which was de- 
veloped the Liberal Conservative party, of which 
until his death MacDonald continued to be the prin- 
cipal figure, and which for more than forty years 
largely moulded the history of Canada. From 1854 
until 1857 he was Attorney General of Upper 
Canada, and then became Prime Minister. He was 
largely instrumental in bringing about the coalition 
of the Canadian Provinces. MacDonald, at the head 
of the delegation from Ontario and Quebec, met the 

130 History of the Clan Donald 

public men of the maritime Provinces in conference 
at Charlottetown, in 1864, and the outline of confed- 
eration then agreed upon was filled out in detail at 
the Conference of Quebec, soon afterwards. He be- 
came the first Premier of the Dominion of Canada, 
and was made a K. C. B. in recognition of his serv- 
ices to the Empire. The Northwest Territories 
were secured as a part of confederated Canada by 
the purchase of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the 
establishment of Manitoba as a Province in 1870. 
In 1871 British Columbia entered the Confederation, 
one of the provisions of union being that a trans- 
continental railroard should be built within ten years, 
which was declared by the opposition to be impos- 
sible. The Cabinet resigned in 1874, and for four 
years Sir John was in opposition, being returned to 
power at the election of 1878. Sir John undertook 
the immediate construction of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway, which had been postponed by the former 
Government. The line was begun late in 1880, and 
finished in November, 1885. From 1878 until his 
death on the 6th of June, 1891, Sir John remained 
Premier, his history during those years being the 
history of the marvelous progress and achievements 
of the great Dominion. The memory of the illus- 
trious leader is perpetuated by statues in most of 
the principal Canadian cities and a memorial in St. 
Paul's Cathedral, London, testifies to the Imperial 
character of his great life work. Sir John was made 
a member of the Privy Council of the Empire in 1879, 
and in 1884, received the Grand Cross of the Bath. 

History of the Clan Donald 131 

After his death his widow, as before mentioned, was 
created a Peeress as Baroness MacDonald of Earns- 

"Fighting Mac" — Sir Hector Archibald MacDon- 
ald — rose from the ranks to become one of the most 
brilliant generals the British Army has ever known. 
He was born at Muir of Allan Grange, Ross-shire, 
Scotland, in 1852, and, in 1870, enlisted in the Gor- 
don Highlanders. At the time of the Afghan War 
of 1879 MacDonald had risen to Colour Sergeant, 
and his bravery and gallant conduct in the presence 
of the enemy obtained him promotion to commis- 
sioned rank. In the Boer War of 1880-1881 he 
served as Lieutenant, being made prisoner at Ma- 
juba. General Joubert as a mark of appreciation of 
the bravery displayed by MacDonald, returned him 
his sword. In 1885 he served under Sir Evelyn 
Wood in the reorganization of the Egyptian Army, 
and took part in the Nile Expedition of the same 
year. In 1888, he was promoted Captain, and, in 
1889, he received the D. S. 0. for his bravery at 
Toski. He became Major in 1891, and, in 1896, 
commanded a brigade of the Egyptian Army in the 
Dongola Expedition. At the head of MacDonald's 
Soudanese Brigade he repulsed the most determined 
onslaughts of the followers of the Mahdi at the crisis 
of the Battle of Omdurman, in 1898. He was pro- 
moted Colonel and appointed aide-de-camp to Queen 
Victoria, being again promoted, in 1899, to Major- 
General. In December, 1899, he was sent to South 
Africa to command the Highland Brigade, which he 

132 History of the Clan Donald 

commanded through Lord Roberts' Paardeberg, 
Bloemfontein and Pretoria operations. He was 
made a K. C. B. in 1901, and the following year 
appointed to the command of the troops in Ceylon, 
but early in the following year he committed suicide 
in Paris. A tower 100 feet high has been erected 
to his memory at Dingwall. 

Another Canadian statesman of the Clan, John 
Landfield MacDonald, was born at St. Raphael, Glen- 
garry County, Ontario. He was admitted to the bar 
in 1840, and in 1841 was elected to the Canadian 
Parliament for Glengarry, which seat he held for 
sixteen years. From 1852 to 1854 he was Speaker 
of the House. In 1862 he was called on by Lord 
Monck, the Governor General, to form a ministry, 
and was Prime Minister until 1864. He opposed 
federation, but on its passage was, in 1867, entrusted 
by the Conservatives with the organization of the 
Provincial Government of Ontario. In 1871 he re- 
signed, and died in 1872. 

John Smyth MacDonald, Holt Professor of Physi- 
ology, Liverpool University, was born in Dublin in 
1867, and is author of "Structure and Function of 
Nerve Fibres," "Structure and Function of Striated 
Muscle," and other works. 

Arthur Anthony MacDonell, Boden Professor of 
Sanskrit, Oxford University, was born in 1854, son 
of Colonel A. A. MacDonell of Lochgarry. Also 
Keeper of the Indian Institute; Fellow of Balliol 
College, and Fellow of the British Academy. He is 
author of "A Sanskrit Grammar," "Vedic Mythol- 

History of the Clan Donald 133 

ogy," "A History of Sanskrit Literature," "A Vedic 
Grammar for Students," and numerous works on 
Oriental Languages and subjects. 

The Right Reverend Alexander MacDonald, D.D., 
Roman Catholic Bishop of Victoria, British Colum- 
bia, was born in Nova Scotia, in 1858. He was Pro- 
fessor of Latin and Philosophy, St. Francis Xavier's 
College, Antigonish, from 1884 until 1903, and is 
author of "Religious Questions of the Day," "The 
Sacrifice of the Mass," and other theological works. 

The Honorable Charles M'Donald, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, Commonwealth of Aus- 
tralia, from 1910 until 1913, and re-elected Speaker 
in 1914, was born at Melbourne, Australia, and 
served as President of the Australian Labor Federa- 
tion from 1890 to 1892. 

A famous scion of Clan Ranald, Jacques Etienne 
Joseph Alexander MacDonald, Duke of Tarentum 
and Marshal of France, was born at Sedan, on the 
17th November, 1765. He was the son of Niel Mac- 
Donald of Clan Ranald, who escaped to France with 
Prince Charles Edward after the Battle of Cullo- 
den. Although intended for the Church, he, in 1785, 
obtained a commission in Maillebois' Regiment re- 
cruited for service in Holland against Austria. He 
then obtained a cadetship in Dillon's Regiment, 
working his way up to a Lieutenancy, in 1791. The 
Revolution then broke out, and war followed in the 
beginning of 1792. He was promoted Captain and 
aide-de-camp to General Beurnonville, being pro- 
moted five months later to Lieutenant-Colonel for 

134 History of the Clan Donald 

distinguished bravery in battle. He became Colonel 
early in 1793, and General of Brigade in August of 
the same year. As General of Division he partici- 
pated in the conquest of Belgium and Holland. In 
1796 he was on the Rhine, and in 1798 in Italy, 
where at the head of 12,000 troops he entered Rome, 
but evacuated the city on the following day on the 
approach of a large Neapolitan army. MacDonald 
now had differences with the Commander-in-Chief 
and resigned, but shortly after on the removal of 
the latter he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of 
the Army of Naples in his place. Bonaparte ap- 
pointed MacDonald to the command of the Army of 
the Grisons, which was to operate among the Alps, 
and at its head he made the famous passage of the 
Splugen. In 1809, the Emperor ordered him to Italy, 
where he carried all before him. At Layback he 
took 10,000 prisoners and captured 100 guns. At 
the Battle of Wagram, Napoleon addressed Mac- 
Donald on the field: "On the battlefield of your 
glory I make you a Marshal of France." After the 
conclusion of peace MacDonald was in command of 
the Army of Italy, and was created Duke of Taren- 
tum. He continued to serve in the Army of France, 
and on the abdication of Napoleon was kindly re- 
ceived by Louis XVIII, and became Major-General 
of the Royal Body Guard. He died at his seat at 
Courcelles, 25th September, 1840. 


GREAT Scotsman, Thomas Carlyle, has 
said, "By symbols man is guided and 
commanded, made happy, made wretch- 
ed," and the emblems used by our fathers 
in days gone by are well worthy of being remem- 

The Crest was the emblem that served, when the 
banner was rent asunder and the shield broken, as 
the rallying point for the Knight's followers. Many 
branches of the Clan bear their distinctive crest. 
The Supporters, another of the heraldic insignia, 
originated from the custom of the knights exhibit- 
ing their armorial shields upon the barriers and pa- 
vilions on the occasion of a tournament. Pages and 
esquires attended to watch their master's escutch- 
eons, and on these occasions they assumed grotesque 
and fantastic costumes, clothing themselves in the 
skins of lions and bears, and hence the variety of 
supporters carried in the arms of the different 

Many of the armorial bearings of branches of the 
Clan are no longer in use, but among those still ex- 
tant the following are of most general interest. 

The Lords of the Isles — Arms — Or, an eagle dis- 
played with two heads, gules, surmounted by a 
lymphad, sable, in the dexter chief point a dexter 
hand couped, gules. 


136 History of the Clan Donald 

Crest — A raven, sable, standing on a rock, azure. 

MacDonald of Sleat — Arms — Quarterly, 1st and 
4th Grand Quarters, counterquartered, 1st, argent, 
a lion rampant gules, armed and langued azure, 2nd, 
or, a hand in armour fessewise, proper, holding a 
cross-crosslet fitchee, gules, 3rd, argent, a lymphad, 
sails furled and oars in action, sable, flagged gules, 
and 4th, vert, a salmon naiant in fesse, proper, for 
MacDonald; 2nd and 3rd Grand Quarters, argent, 
five lozenges conjoined in fesse, gules, and in chief 
three bears' heads erased at the neck, sable, 
muzzled or, a canton ermine, for Bosville. 

Supporters — Two leopards, proper, collared or. 

Crests — A hand in armour fessewise, holding a 
cross-crosslet fitchee, gules, for MacDonald; a bull 
passant, argent, armed or, issuing from a hurst of 
oaks, charged on the shoulder with a rose, proper, 
for Bosville. 

Mottoes — Per mare per terras and Virtus prop- 
ter se. 

MacDonald of Clan Ranald — Arms: Four coats 
quarterly, 1st, argent, a lion rampant, gules, armed 
or; 2nd, or, a dexter hand couped in fesse, holding 
a cross-crosslet fitchee in pale, all gules ; 3rd, or, a 
lymphad, her oars in saltyrways, sable, and in base 
undy vert, a salmon naiant, proper. 

Supporters — Two bears, each having two arrows 
pierced through the body, all proper. 

Crest — A triple towered castle, argent, masoned 
sable, and issuing from the centre tower a dexter 
hand in armour embowed grasping a sword, all 

History of the Clan Donald 137 

Mottoes — Over the crest, My hope is constant in 
Thee ; below the arms, Dhandeon co Heiragha. 

MacDonell of Glengarry — Arms — Or, an eagle 
displayed, gules, surmounted by a lymphad, sable, 
sails furled and rigged, proper, in the dexter chief 
a dexter hand couped in fesse of the second, in the 
sinister a cross-crosslet fitchee of the third. 

Supporters — Two bears, each having an arrow 
pierced through the body, all proper. 

Crest — A raven, proper, perched on a rock, azure. 

Mottoes — Over the crest, Cragan an Fhithich ; be- 
low the arms. Per mare per terras. 

McDonnell, Earl of Antrim — Arms — Quarterly, 
1st, or, a lion rampant, gules ; 2nd, or, a dexter arm 
issuant from the sinister fesse point out of a cloud, 
proper, in the hand a cross-crosslet fitchee erect, 
azure; 3rd, argent, a lymphad, sails furled, sable; 
4th, per fesse azure and vert, a dolphin naiant in 
fesse, proper. 

Supporters — Dexter, a savage wreathed about the 
temples and loins vdth ivy, all proper; sinister, a 
falcon, wings inverted, proper, beaked membered 
and belled or. 

Crest — A dexter arm embowed in fesse, couped at 
the shoulder, vested or, cuff argent, holding in the 
hand a cross-crosslet fitchee, azure. 

Motto — Tou jours pret. 

Baron MacDonald — Arms, supporters and crest as 
MacDonald of Sleat. 

Motto — Per mare per terras. 

Baron MacDonnell — Arms — Quarterly indented, 

138 History of the Clan Donald 

1st, a lion rampant, gules, armed and langued azure ; 
2nd, or, an arm in armour embowed, couped at the 
shoulder, the hand holding a cross-crosslet fitchee 
vert ; 3rd, argent, a ship in full sail, sable ; 4th, per 
fesse wavy, azure and vert, a dolphin naiant, proper. 

Supporters — Dexter, a sambur, proper, sinister, 
an Irish wolfhound, proper. 

Crest — An arm in armour as in the arms. 

Motto — Tou jours pret. 

Ancient arms of the MacDonnells of Connaught, 
from a monument in MacDonnell's Chapel, Ross 
Abbey, County Galway — Azure, an ancient galley, 
sails set and flags flying, argent, between in chief 
a cross calvary on three grieces, or, between in the 
dexter an increscent of the second, and in the sin- 
ister a dexter hand couped at the vsTist apaumee, 
proper, and in base a salmon naiant also of the 

Crest — A unicorn passant, gules. 

Motto — Hie vinces. 

"Crest of my sires ! whose blood it sealed 
With glory in the strife of swords. 

Ne'er may the scroll that bears it yield 
Degenerate thoughts or faithless words."